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Bushfire season begins

The official bushfire season across NSW is underway, which means NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) are working to minimise grass and crop fire fuel.


To highlight just how quickly grass fires can develop and spread, NSW RFS conducted a controlled burn at Varroville today. Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers AFSM joined forces with local firefighters to bring the demonstration to life.


A specific Air Tanker, referred to a ‘Marie Bashir’, has returned to NSW since fighting wildfires for two months in the Northern Hemisphere. The 737 Large Air Tanker (LAT) was present at the burn today and will go on to assist firefighters in saving lives and properties, as part of the RFS aerial fleet.


“Since the LAT first touched down in NSW in August 2019 as a permanent addition to the RFS arsenal, she has assisted firefighters to save homes and lives across the NSW as well as assisting interstate and internationally,” Mr Elliott said.


“The NSW Government has committed $480 million in response to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry recommendations, which includes the addition of two new Bell 412 helicopters and the citation ‘Birddog’ aircraft.”

“Despite COVID-19 impacting almost every facet of our lives, our incredible firefighters have worked tirelessly to prepare for this bushfire season, and I urge communities to do the same,” Mr Elliott said.


Concerns are held surrounding the higher than average rainfall over winter, which has led to a significant increase in grass and crop growth. According to Commissioner Rogers, this is a particular concern in the regions.


“Our helicopters will be strategically placed in regional locations, as we anticipate a greater risk of grass fires burning in our regions this year,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“Grass fires move very fast and are particularly difficult to contain. It’s important that everyone has a plan in place and know what they will do if threatened by fire.


“Our aviation fleet is ready to assist firefighters across NSW and we urge communities to be equally as prepared. There can never be a fire truck at every home, so everyone needs to have a plan in place,” Commissioner Rogers said.


The NSW Government has committed more than $480 million over four years to improve the state’s preparedness and response to bushfires and support our firefighters, including:


$69.3 million for an additional 420 new fire trucks and 140 refurbished trucks and vehicles.

$20.6 million to modify safety components on NSW RFS fire trucks.

$42.9 million to employ an additional 100 mitigation crews for hazard reduction work.

$24.9 million to implement a new risk-based multi-tenure hazard reduction planning and upgraded audit and compliance functions.

$36 million for a new first-responder mental health strategy for emergency services.

$3.4 million to increase the number of Fire Behaviour Analysts and enhance training.

$15 million for additional personal protective clothing for frontline firefighters.

$43.9 million to fund priority works for the fire trail network.

$21.8 million to upgrade the NSW RFS aviation capability.

$10.6 million to implement the new National Fire Danger Rating system.

$15 million for upgrades to Emergency Services Fire Control Centres.

The official bush fire season commenced on 1 October 2021 and runs through to 31 March 2022.