• Tony Bosworth

Hazard reduction burns across Blue Mountains as firefighters say they’re harnessing the weather…

Fire agencies, land managers and private landholders are taking advantage of some of the best weather conditions since last spring to conduct vital hazard reduction burns across the state this week.

These controlled burns will help reduce fuel loads and provide thousands of homes with added protection from bush fire, say the RFS.

NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Rob Rogers said prescribed burns in areas including the Blue Mountains, are scheduled to run from today – Wednesday - and will continue across the weekend.

Smoke from hazard reduction burns across the Blue Mountains today. Smoke may well drift across the Hawkesbury over the weekend as firefighters get busy. Picture - Robin Woods

“Above average rainfall for nine out of the past 12 months has made it difficult for agencies to conduct hazard reduction works,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“With a return of favourable weather, fire agencies and land managers will need to take advantage of the conditions to complete this important work ahead of next fire season.

“These burns are planned well in advance and a number of factors, including current and forecast weather, are monitored right up to the moment burns are lit and if the conditions are not right, the activity may be amended or postponed.”

“Smoke from these burns is expected to drift across the Greater Sydney Metropolitan, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Snowy Valleys, Wollongong and Shoalhaven areas and may result in reduced air quality.

“In order to minimise the impact of smoke on the community, firefighters will alter the timings and lighting strategies for these burns,” said Commissioner Rogers.

Smoke from hazard burns seen from Riverview Produce, Yarramundi Lane, today. Picture - Robin Woods

Members of the public are reminded that they should only call Triple Zero (000) if they see a fire without a fire truck in attendance.

People in smoke affected areas should avoid outdoor activity, close doors and windows, keep pets in a protected area, remove washing from clotheslines and, if driving, slow down and turn on headlights.

Asthmatics and people with respiratory or heart conditions should take appropriate precautions, follow treatment and management plans and keep their medication on hand. For further information, go to www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx

A full list and map of scheduled hazard reduction burns for the coming week is available at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/hr

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