RFS Canobolas: Grass fire risk concerns firefighters

FIRE SAFETY: High grassland fuel loads are a concern for firefighters in the Canobolas region. This photo shows high grass levels in the Northern Tablelands. Photo: JASON JARRETT
FIRE SAFETY: High grassland fuel loads are a concern for firefighters in the Canobolas region. This photo shows high grass levels in the Northern Tablelands. Photo: JASON JARRETT

AS the rain keeps on falling in the Canobolas region, the risk of grass fires during warmer weather keeps on increasing.

It may still be winter, but NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews are already looking at current fire risks and aiming to mitigate them before the next bushfire danger period.

Good winter rainfall has meant that there's up to 2.5 tonnes of grassland fuels per hectare in some parts of the Canobolas region.

Canobolas fire mitigation officer Geoff Selwood said firefighters were concerned about grass fires in coming months.

"Last year with all the dust storms we've got grass growing in places that never saw grass growth," he said.

FIRE RISK: Areas in the Canobolas zone currently have up to 2.5 tonnes of grassland fuel per hectare. Image: NSW RFS

FIRE RISK: Areas in the Canobolas zone currently have up to 2.5 tonnes of grassland fuel per hectare. Image: NSW RFS

"The other big problem is we haven't actually had enough rain to get it down into the subsoil ... when summer comes it'll dry off very quickly."

The winter rain has also meant that firefighters have so far been unable to conduct planned hazard reduction burns.

Firefighters are keen to burn off areas at Manildra, Ophir Road, Gowan Road, Shadforth and Clifton Grove.

The Canobolas region escaped without any major blazes last summer, so Mr Selwood said firefighters would be closely monitoring Mount Canobolas and Goobang and Nangar national parks.

"All of these timbered areas could still burn because there's been no fires there," he said.

The RFS released a video on Monday highlighting just how quickly a grass fire can travel, even when the height of the grass is low.

"It doesn't have to be shoulder high to be problematic," RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said.

"We need property owners to slash and put fire breaks in and, where you can, remove the hazards."

Landholders planning to burn off on their property can now notify the RFS online which helps to prevent unnecessary emergency calls.

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This story Grass fire risk increasing as the rain keeps falling first appeared on Cowra Guardian.