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Early start to Bega Valley – Eurobodalla fire season in the shadow of Yankees Gap. Snowy Monaro a possibility

Ian Campbell 30 July 2019
Around 150 people packed into the Brogo RFS shed for a community meeting about the Yankees Gap Fire. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Around 150 people packed into the Brogo RFS shed for a community meeting about the Yankees Gap Fire. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The 2019/2020 bush fire season along the Far South Coast will start early, as the shadow of the vast and long-running Yankees Gap Bushfire still looms large.

Thursday, August 1 will be the official start of the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period for the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.

The NSW Rural Fire Service is urging residents to prepare for the fire season now.

While October 1 is the official commencement of the New South Wales bush fire season, some areas, such as the Far South Coast are commencing their danger period early due to continuing dry conditions.

NSW RFS Superintendent John Cullen says its time to complete or review your Bush Fire Survival Plan and ensure all members of the household know what to do on days of increased fire danger and if home is threatened by fire.

“While it is important to continue hazard reduction there are many ways of achieving the right result without burning. We are encouraging people to focus on the simple things like mowing and raking and relocating flammable materials to safer locations” Superintendent Cullen says.

“With ongoing moisture deficit and the potential for strong spring winds, conditions are becoming more conducive to the spread of fire and people need to be extremely careful when using fire and we would prefer that people looked at alternative means of reducing risk.

“Never leave a fire unattended and if a fire does escape, it is essential to call Triple Zero (000) immediately so that emergency services can respond accordingly and minimise the damage.”

The Yankees Gap Road Fire, August 15. Photo: Rachel Helmreich

The Yankees Gap Road Fire, August 15. Photo: Rachel Helmreich

During the Bush Fire Danger Period any person wishing to light a fire will require a permit, which from August 1 is the case for the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Local Government Areas.

Contact the Fire Control Centre at Moruya or Bega for details on how to obtain a fire permit if required. On days of Total Fire Ban all Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificates are automatically revoked.

Across the still frozen Snowy Monaro, October 1 is traditionally the start of the local bush fire season.

A spokesperson says conditions are very dry and the threat from bushfire is real.

Last year the danger period through the high country was brought forward to start on September 1 and “we are seeing similar conditions this year,” the spokesperson says.

“We will make a decision mid-August in consultation with local brigades.”

Meantime, the first anniversary of the start of the Yankees Gap Bushfire at Bemboka is approaching on August 15.

The fire sprung from a private hazard reduction burn whipped up by winter winds prior to the start of the 2018 bush fire season. Flames that burnt for 44 days, destroyed four homes, 20,000 hectares of bush and pastures, and hundreds of kilometers of fencing.

For bushfire advice and updates check the NSW RFS website.

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