Weather

Early bushfire season in parts of NSW

Ben Domensino, 21 August 2019

Some areas in NSW have started their bushfire season early this year in response to unusually warm and dry weather.

The Rural Fire Service announced earlier this month that 12 Local Government Areas would commence their Bushfire Danger Period on August 1st. This is two months before the statutory start date on October 1st.

Fires are still allowed at times during the Bushfire Danger Period, although a fire permit is required for some burning activities. 

A number of large and fast-moving fires burned across NSW during the first fortnight of autumn, fanned by a series of cold fronts that caused dry and blustery winds across the state. Some of these fires destroyed homes and buildings. 

These fires, combined with the recent dry weather, prompted the Rural Fire Service to kick the bushfire season off in another nine Local Government Areas on Saturday, August 17th.

The 20 Local Government Areas that have now commenced their Bushfire Danger Period for 2019 are Armidale Regional, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kempsey, Mid Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie Hastings, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Coffs Harbour, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed.

Fortunately, this week's windy weather will ease later this week as a ridge of high pressure moves over NSW, in the wake of a series of cold fronts.

Rainfall during July was more than 60 percent below average for NSW as a whole, with some places registering their driest July in more than 20 years, including Armidale, Oberon and Tenterfield. 

Last month was also the state's fourth warmest July in 120 years of records based on mean temperature.

Last month continued a notably warm and dry start to 2019. NSW its warmest and fifth driest January to July period on record, based on statewide rainfall and mean temperatures.