With large bushfires burning across the state, residents are being cautioned to be prepared this summer.
NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent John Cullen told Bega Valley Shire councillors on Wednesday, the current drought combined with low humidity and strong winds will create perfect conditions for a bushfire this summer.
The enormous fires we've seen up north, with the ferocity and the speed they move at we are lucky we haven't had greater losses.NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent John Cullen
"The bush is very stressed, extremely stressed and volatile," Mr Cullen said.
"We need to get people into the same gear we are in in terms of thinking about fire, big time.
"Community preparedness will help reduce risk."
The statements were made during his annual fire season community update, with this year's season starting in August for the first time in history.
Mr Cullen said the Bega River is a good "gauge" of water availability across the region, "and there's indications water is getting away".
He said while recent rain has "brought some water back", authorities are still predicting a dry Christmas period.
"We've got to go with our worst case scenario, and work with our community," Mr Cullen said.
"Drought and fires live together."
He said a recent meeting with Victorian firefighters, who are "gearing up" for an extended fire season, shows they are also concerned, and council has created a local emergency management room in preparation of an emergency.
Mr Cullen also said recent restructuring of the RFS at a regional level has seen the state shift from being divided into four regions to seven areas. He described the changes as positive, and said they have bettered the service at an operational level, with a more centralised dispatch approach to bushfire response.
"It's certainly cutting out a level of process, and getting the word out quicker to the brigades," he said.
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"It has been very well accepted, we were concerned we would have pushback from our volunteers."
He also said a number of new tankers have been brought into the area, and improvements have been made to a number of fire sheds, with more work expected to take place.
Bushfires in the north of the state have "taken a lot of resources" out of the local area, including staff from the aviation and planning departments, he said.
"The enormous fires we've seen up north, with the ferocity and the speed they move at we are lucky we haven't had greater losses," Mr Cullen said.
"Everything is burning at the moment. They are huge fires.
"We are putting as many systems in place to try and reduce the risk, and catching fires early is the name of the game."