If you’ve ventured outside today in Sydney you’ve likely seen the eerie smoke cloud enveloping the city – the result of 3000 hectares of routine hazard reduction burns with the largest taking place in Warragamba.
NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd told the Hit Network this weekend's routine burns were designed to “reduce the intensity of bushfires” in and around Sydney over summer – and also serve as an inadvertent yet “timely” community reminder to stay vigilant.
“It should act as a timely reminder as we move closer to the bushfire season that we need to be doing as much as we can in order to protect our communities," he said.
"But we can't also understate also what the community can also do to best help themselves, by ensuring they're well prepared for this fire season, which we may see in Sydney as little as four to six weeks away.”
With another 1000 hectares burnt today by rural fire crews, Insp. Shepherd urged all residents to ensure they had an adequate bushfire survival plan in place.
"There is a real risk with the forested areas close to the coast. They are drying out, given the reduced rainfall across winter,” he said.
“And obviously that does give us some real concern moving into summer especially if we don't get any rain between now and then.
“We're just asking everyone that lives on or close to bushland areas to just prepare your home because we do know that fire can occur at any time of the year.
“Having a well prepared home and having a survival plan could be the difference for you this coming bushfire season.”