PATCHES of the Canobolas zone could reach the catastrophic fire danger rating today, in what is expected to be a “very bad day” for the fighting fires, Rural Fire Service (RFS) Canobolas zone manager superintendent David Hoadley says.
A total fire ban has been declared for the entire central ranges and earlier indications of extreme conditions in the zone have been revised upwards for certain areas to catastrophic - the highest rating possible.
“The level of preparedness for [today’s] event surpasses anything we’ve done before,” Mr Hoadley said.
“We are ready to go for anything that comes along.
“We’ve got extra resources with strike teams that can go anywhere in the zone.”
Crews at the North West RFS were putting final preparations in place yesterday afternoon ahead of what was expected to be a horror day for firefighters with a top of 35 degrees predicted, low relative humidity and strong westerly winds combining to heighten the fire risk.
Mr Hoadley said today’s measures will continue for the rest of the week ahead of more bad conditions predicted for Saturday when temperatures are expected to hit 36 degrees.
“We all hope no fires break out and we’re doing everything possible to encourage people to do safe activities,” he said.
“Every few years we get days of extreme weather conditions. We don’t need to panic, just use commonsense.”
The RFS has asked all farmers and small block owners to put off all agricultural activities today to reduce the risk of an accidental fire starting.
Mr Hoadley said the community should look at the Tasmanian bushfires to see how bad it can get.
“In our area we’ve had a couple of wet summers so probably our community is not conscious of how dangerous it is,” he said.
“Prior to the that we had a drought period ... so we’ve got very significant fuel load combined with very dry conditions and that’s got us all concerned.
Mr Hoadley said the four-day weather forecast indicated the Canobolas zone would be significantly affected but the whole state was in for bad days.