Be prepared, know your risk and stay informed: this is what the NSW Rural Fire Service has urged for this next bushfire season.
"I really encourage property owners to go back into their plans for last year and evaluate it with their families," NSW Rural Fire Service Far South Coast manager Superintendent John Cullen said.
"Look at what worked, what didn't work, and what do you need to change. Really hone your plans."
This year there has been a huge increase from previous years in the number of people across the Far South Coast conducting notified burn-offs to prepare their properties against the threat of bushfire.
As the Far South Coast is now in the bushfire danger period, which began at the start of September, if you want to conduct a burn-off at your property you must obtain a permit from your local fire brigade, not the RFS control centre.
Once you have a permit for a burn off you still need to notify the RFS, which can be done online, and your neighbours at least 24 hours in advance
Superintendent Cullen said if there was something you were not sure of then seek advice, either at the fire control centres at Bega and Moruya or from your local brigade.
He also urged people to take care of each other through the bushfire recovery period, as last summer's bushfires had been "very hard" on people.
"It's really important that everybody looks out for everybody," he said.
In positive news for the region the Bureau of Meteorology has stated rain is likely in the Far South Coast this spring, saying "September to November is likely to be wetter than average across the eastern two thirds of mainland Australia".
The NSW RFS has plenty of information on planning and preparing for bushfires.
For instance, when it comes to preparing your home the service has these suggestions:
- Clean your gutters of leaves and twigs
- Install metal gutter guards
- Repair damaged or missing tiles on the roof
- Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors
- Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
- Enclose the areas under the house
- Repair or cover gaps in external walls
- Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
- Keep lawns short and gardens well maintained
- Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging buildings
- Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property
- Have hoses long enough to reach around your house
- If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance, so firefighters know where they can get water
- Check and maintain adequate levels of home and contents insurance. Ensure it is up to date.