Our Say: Fire season over, but we need to be vigilant

About 50 firefighters contained this blaze at a Chapmans Road property in February, saving neighbouring properties.
About 50 firefighters contained this blaze at a Chapmans Road property in February, saving neighbouring properties.

The official bush fire season may be over, but Orana and Far West residents should not be complacent.

While residents in the region made it through the danger period relatively fire-free, the ongoing drought or near-drought conditions across vast expanses of both regions means the risks are still there.

Temperatures are running higher and rainfall lower than is normal for this time of year.

Dubbo, for example, saw just 33.8mm of rain in the first three months of 2018, well below the long-term average of 158.7mm.

A quick scan of the land anywhere in our regions shows parched pastures that could ignite in a second.

The Rural Fire Service has thanked the various Orana and Far West communities for being vigilant during “what could have been a potentially very bad season”.

They said the regions were lucky there were not more serious fires. Certainly, the potential was there for some “pretty bad” ones.

But, as RFS district service coordinator Mark Pickford says fire risks remain until we have decent rain and lower temperatures.

And he called on residents to remain vigilant, pointing out that fire does not pay heed to calendar dates.

The volunteers who are always there (but sometimes forgotten) and ready to race into action to keep the rest of us safe deserve heartfelt thanks from the whole community.

While it may have been a relatively quieter and safer fire season, they were still busy keeping it that way.

While staying vigilant, residents can help the RFS and local NSW Fire and Rescue brigades by giving close attention to future fire and damage prevention.

Ensure the fire alarms and smoke detectors in your homes are working properly. Follow the warnings and tips issued for the winter months on avoiding blazes in the home.

Between now and the October 31 start to the next bush fire season, ensure you keep the grounds around properties tidy and free from fire fuel and most importantly make sure you update your bush fire plan. It could save your family’s lives. If you haven’t done one … do it now.

The tips are available from the RFS and your local fire brigade. Get cracking.

The best thanks we can give the firies is to do the right thing and help them prevent and limit fires and the damage.

Let’s all commit to doing that.