NSW Premier Chris Minns has expressed his concern for this year’s bushfire season as dozens of fires blaze across the state.
Despite it only being September, 65 fires are already being fought by firefighters before a five-day heatwave comes to its expected end on Wednesday evening.
“I know the Rural Fire Service commissioner is concerned about the weather conditions. We could be in for a really tough summer,” he said.
“If you look at the [fuel] loads, particularly the Northern Rivers after the heavy rains and the floods of last year, they’ve got a lot to burn through up there. We’ve got great people on the ground, but communities need to be ready.”
A catastrophic fire danger warning is in place for the NSW South Coast as residents fear a recurrence of the state’s worst black summer of bushfires in 2019/20.
Local Government Minister Kristy McBain, who represents the Eden-Monaro electorate next to Victorian border, said affected communities were fearful of what was to come this summer and were frustrated by the recent lack of action on land management and mitigation.
“The frustration stems not with our local Rural Fire Service, who are a largely volunteer group doing as much work as they possibly can when weather permits,” she told ABC Radio.
“It’s a lack of investment in paid workforces to make sure that land management is a priority and that’s across national parks, state forests. I think that would be the frustration that land management is still not a priority.
“That doesn’t come down to the last couple of months, that’s the last three years that we should have been preparing.”