With the hot weather lashing the region the last few weeks, the fire rating still sits at “very high” for the Northern Slopes Fire Area, encompassing Gwydir, Gunnedah, Inverell, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth.
Bush fires are more likely to start and spread rapidly when the weather is very hot, dry and windy.
Currently residents across Gwydir Shire have been taking photos of smoke streaking the sunsets with fires North-East of Barraba and South-West of Narrabri affecting the region.
In order to prevent bush fires during this high danger period, there are a few things farmers can do on their properties to minimise the risk to their homes, buildings, machinery and animals.
Firstly, ensure that measures are taken to prevent fires from starting in the first place. Things such as keeping branches trimmed back from power lines and keeping farming machinery well maintained can stop sparks from occurring that can potentially start fires.
Secondly, take measures that will slow the spread of fire such as moving woodpiles and other flammable objects from buildings, fuel into sheds, replacing old roofing and weatherboards that may let embers in and keeping the gardens well maintained.
Finally, proper planning can save lives. Make sure that you have a plan in the event of a fire that includes possible refuge paddocks where stock could be moved if needed. Also ensure that the property has fire breaks by mowing, grazing, brush cutting or ploughing around buildings, crops, pasture, storage areas, along key fence lines and other exposures. Make sure that there is a way that fire trucks can reach the property, taking into consideration whether cattle grids and bridges will be able to support a fire truck.
For more information on fires in the area, go to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me for an interactive map that is regularly updated.