The new bushfire season is not expected to end up as devastating as last summer's was on the Far South Coast, but that does not mean residents should become complacent.
There are still areas that haven't burnt, and depending on the weather conditions could still be problematic, said NSW Rural Fire Service Far South Coast manager Superintendent John Cullen.
"With the amount of country that's already been burnt out, certainly we won't see fire runs of that magnitude," Superintendent Cullen said.
"[But] We urge communities to prepare their properties and their families."
Speaking to ACM on Wednesday, he said the regions he was concerned about include the "lovegrass country" around Candelo, Wolumla and Mogilla, saying "the dry standing vegetation is of a concern even now".
He was also mindful most of the region east of the Princes Hwy between Bodalla and Eden had not been burnt.
Summer's bushfires covered 65 per cent of the Far South Coast, claimed eight lives, and destroyed 466 homes in the Bega Valley as well as 501 in the Eurobodalla.
The eight months since the fires have passed quickly and the region entered the bushfire danger period this month, but over the year the RFS has been working to prepare the region for the new season.
Superintendent Cullen said a main part of their activities after March had been dealing with the impact of the major fires.
This included making areas safe, repairing equipment, fixing roads and bridges, clearing trails, conducting strategic burns adjacent to villages as well as managing fuel loads and asset protection zones in areas that had not been impacted by the fires.
The brigades have also been working in a COVID-19 restriction world, and Superintendent Cullen said his team was planning how it would operate within the restrictions in an incident management space, saying "it's going to take some managing" as the Bega Fire Control Centre was packed during last summer's disaster.
He said the RFS had no more plans for hazard reduction in the region, saying "it's getting too late for that" due to the unpredictable weather that came with the change of season.
For instance, he said last Sunday five hazard reduction burns escaped their control lines which was "a good indication of unpredictable weather conditions and that fuels are still dry".
"The [winter's] rain made terrific ground moisture, but the standing fuels have dried out," he said.
When it came to hazard reduction he said "we could always do more", but there were many issues to take into account when planning for an operation and last year it had been too dry to conduct burns.
"Every effort is made through the risk planning process to conduct the required hazard reductions, but really the closer to the asset the greater emphasis on preparation," he said.
He said the management of asset protective zones around properties and villages, community education, and prepared properties and property owners all came into the mix of reducing fuel and preparation.
When questioned about the belief that properties burnt in the last fires will not burn again, he said that was mostly correct as the fuel loads around those properties would have been heavily reduced.
However, he said there was still "no sure guarantee pre-burnt properties won't be burnt" as, for example, there could be a build up of fuel around a home or embers could set a house on fire so people still needed to prepare their properties.
In August, the NSW Bushfire Inquiry's 76 recommendations were approved in principle by the state government, with Superintendent Cullen welcoming recommendations including extra aerial assets, night aerial work, the emphasis on research, and processes that improved the early detection and knowledge of fire.
Superintendent Cullen said his brigades were very fortunate in how they were all well-equipped and did not require any more equipment.
"We've been very well supported by both councils, Bega Valley and Eurobodalla," he said.
Also, he welcomed the Tathra/Reedy Swamp bushfire coronial inquiry, which began last month and has been adjourned to an unknown date.
"It's really important the coronial investigation took place so the community knows exactly what took place on that day," he said.