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Hills Shire will start the Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) early this year due to ongoing warm and dry conditions. The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is urging residents to prepare now for what could be a long and protracted fire season. While 1 October is when the 2019/20 bush fire season officially commences, The Hills Shire will begin the fire season on Sunday 1 September 2019.

NSW RFS Superintendent Mathew Smith is urging residents to make and discuss their bush fire survival plan. “This is to ensure all members of the household know what to do on days of increased fire danger and what to do if their home is threatened by fire,” Superintendent Smith said.

“Residents should prepare their property by removing flammable materials from their yards, clearing leaves from gutters, checking hoses can reach all around the house and where appropriate, conduct hazard reduction activities. “While it is important to continue hazard reduction we have all seen the devastation that bush fires can bring to a community, so I strongly urge people to exercise caution when carrying out these activities.

“Residents can ask their local Fire Control Centre for assistance in carrying out safe hazard reductions and for advice about whether they need a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate. Superintendent Smith said with warm and windy conditions becoming more conducive to the spread of fire, people need to be extremely careful when using fire.

“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,” Superintendent Smith said.

“During the Bush Fire Danger Period any person wishing to light a fire will require a permit and is free to obtain from your local Fire Control Centre. On days of Total Fire Ban all fire permits are automatically revoked.