Firies on standby as temps soar

Central West firefighters are on high alert, with temperatures across the region to soar tomorrow.

NSW Rural Fire Service Canobolas zone operations officer Brett Bowden said brigades were prepared should bushfires flare.

“All of our 80 brigades are prepared for a severe fire rating,” he said.

“We have 800 RFS personnel on standby, some of who will be on at the station so we have firefighters very close by to reduce our response times.”

This afternoon, the RFS gave the Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Lithgow, Mid-Western Regional, Oberon and Orange local government areas a 'severe' fire danger rating for Friday.

The severe rating is one step short of the highest possible one: 'catastrophic'.

A total fire ban will be in force in those council areas.

Tomorrow, the temperature in Dubbo is expected to reach 41 degrees, while Mudgee will reach a top of 39. Lithgow and Bathurst will hit 37 degrees and Orange will nudge 35.

There will be a chance of late thunderstorms tomorrow, with  north-westerly winds blowing up to 35 kilometres per hour in the morning before becoming lighter and turning to a west to south-westerly direction in the afternoon.

Mr Bowden said thunderstorms were a big concern.

“Yes, we are hoping for some rain, but in these dry conditions lighting provides plenty of ignition for fires,” he said. “Our aim is to contain any fires that ignite as quickly as possible so they don’t have a chance to develop.”

Mr Bowden warned people to avoid any outdoor activity that could trigger a fire.

“Tomorrow is the not the day to mow your lawn,” he said. “We don’t want to see people driving vehicles or machinery in long grass or people using any portable tools like angle grinders or chainsaws. In these hot and windy conditions, it is just too easy for a fire to start.”

Mr Bowden urged resident to prepare or review their Bushfire Survival Plan.

“Even if you only made your plan a week ago, review it,” he said. “You need to know how to prepare your house, when you are going to stay and defend your house and when you are going to leave. Do not leave it until fire is coming over your back fence to make a plan.”

Possible showers are forecast for the weekend, helping temperatures drop to the mid-to-high 20s across most of the region.

FRIDAY FORECAST

Dubbo -  41

Orange – 35

Bathurst – 37

Parkes – 41

Mudgee – 39

Lithgow – 36

Oberon – 34

Molong - 42

Condobolin – 42

Cowra – 41

Wellington – 40

Forbes – 42

Cobar – 42

Grenfell – 42

Canowindra – 38

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