Moisture and high humidity is helping reduce the chances of bush fires

Ablaze: Belbora (east of Gloucester) was one of the areas affected by bush fires in 2017. Photo: Anne Keen.
Ablaze: Belbora (east of Gloucester) was one of the areas affected by bush fires in 2017. Photo: Anne Keen.

With less than one month left in the bush fire period, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) district officer Stuart Robb has reflected on the season so far.

“We’ve been fairly fortunate,” Mr Robb said. 

Total Fire Bans have been in place across NSW, with the Mid Coast region one of the few to avoid it.

“We’re just on the edge of those districts who have copped it harder,” Mr Robb said.

The region has experienced dry weather and high humidity of the last few weeks. There have been some smaller scale fires so far this season, most notably north of Port Macquarie, west of Gloucester and the Great Lakes.

Mr Robb praised all firefighters for their work on the blazes.

“Crews have been fantastic,” he said.

He added that the public has responded well to heeding fire warning notices.

“The public are hyper vigilant which is great,” Mr Robb said. 

“They are aware of significant fires and it’s great they are consistently updated on the impact of the fires.”

He said that heavy rainfall around Christmas last year helped reduce the fire rating. 

“There's lots of moisture in the air with high humidity holding over to the evening,” Mr Robb said. 

Very low relative humidity causes fuels to dry out and become more flammable. 

The one year anniversary of the devastating Pappinbarra Valley fires was recently recognised on the North Coast. As a comparison to the conditions of last year, Mr Robb said he visited the site for the anniversary where it began to lightly rain which proved the idea that each bush fire season is unpredictable. This was reinforced through the affects of bush fires across the area in September last year. 

These conditions resulted in a Total Fire Ban not being called on the Mid North Coast. The bush fire period will end on March 31. 

Be prepared in bush fire prone areas:

  • Make or review their bush fire survival plan – decide now what to do if a fire starts close by
  • Check the local fire danger – look out for the roadside signs and know the fire danger rating
  • Stay up to date on fires in the local area – proactively check the NSW RFS website or the Fires Near Me app on days of heightened danger. 

Residents are urged to call Triple Zero (000) immediately if they detect a new or unattended fire.