THE Rural Fire Service is again on high alert as temperatures are set to climb above 40 degrees in Bega today.
“We are gearing up for the worst,” RFS Far South Coast manager Superintendent John Cullen said this week.
“The prediction is for temperatures up around 42 degrees and for north-westerly winds of 40kmh, which is not a good combination.
“We are pre-empting a Section 44 declaration and will be operating out of the Bega Fire Control Centre again.”
A Section 44 declaration comes from the Rural Fire Service Act and allows the RFS to utilise all available resources in the event of a major fire and was issued for January 8 across 19 local government areas in NSW.
The last time the mercury climbed above 40 – on January 8 – the temperature combined with high winds to fan a bushfire in Brogo that threatened homes on Warrigal Range Rd.
The fire burned out 98h and took over 50 firefighters from the RFS several days to bring it under control.
RFS crews from around the Valley also attended fires that broke out in South Pambula and Millingandi.
With conditions just as dangerous today, Mr Cullen urged residents to stay informed and have their Bushfire Survival Plan in place.
“Once again, please be aware of conditions throughout the day and avoid high-risk actions.
“There are a lot of ways a fire can start, so we urge people not to use angle grinders, slashers or other outdoor machinery, and don’t drive cars through long grass.
“Grass fires start very easily and spread very quickly, particularly in the sort of conditions we have been experiencing.”
Mr Cullen said a change from the south west is due around 2pm, however it brings with it the possibility of lightning.
“There is some rain predicted, however, there could be lightning so we will be watching conditions very closely throughout the day.”