FIRE permits across the Shoalhaven have been suspended today and residents are being warned to gear up for even hotter and possibly more volatile conditions that have the potential to lead to a catastrophic declaration next week.
As the Shoalhaven moves into a second day of warm weather, with temperatures expected to be well over 30 degrees each day until at least Sunday, the fire danger in the area today is rated as very high.
Rural Fire Service Inspector Paul Gooey from the Shoalhaven Fire Control Centre said all local permits had been suspended for 24 hours until midnight Wednesday.
“Anyone who has a fire needs to ensure it is extinguished straight away.
“People with permits need to look at the weather forecast for the next few days. We expect it to remain hot and dry and they should resist any temptation to burn off any vegetation until conditions change.”
Inspector Gooey said permits might continue to be suspended over the next few days.
He said the region could be face what is described as a “blow up day” next week.
“The early forecasts for next week are that we could experience a day of severe to catastrophic rating,” he said.
“We don’t know exactly what day that may be at this stage but we are expecting possibly sometime early next week.
“It is part of a slow-moving weather pattern and as we get closer to the weekend we will have a better idea how it will affect the Shoalhaven.”
Nowra reached a high of 31 degrees on Tuesday; the mercury is expected to hit 34 degrees on Wednesday, 33 on Thursday and Friday and 34 on Saturday.
The temperature is expected to drop to 23 with a late shower on Sunday and 25 Monday before returning to 31 on Tuesday ahead of the possible dangerous weather conditions.
Inspector Gooey also said hot work like grinding and welding in and around dry vegetation was also banned.
However, the use of wood fired barbecues was still permitted as long as it was in a properly constructed barbecue, within 20 metres of a residence with access to a hose, with an adult in attendance at all times.
Shoalhaven RFS is also identifying any local crews able to be released to support southern NSW and Victorian crews in the event fire breaks out there.
“They are experiencing extreme weather down there and we are preparing in case some of our local crews are required,” Insp Gooey said.
Meanwhile, local crews remain on site at a series of small burns conducted in the Budgong area, between Nowra and Kangaroo Valley, on Tuesday.
The fire line preparation burns were undertaken ahead of a hazard reduction operation planned for the area.
Inspector Gooey said all the burns had been extinguished and blacked out ahead of today’s conditions, however crews remained on the scene and would continue to patrol it throughout the day to ensure there was no reignition.
“We prepared only a very small corridor in the Kellets Trail area ahead of a larger hazard reduction which will be carried out when weather conditions permit,” he said.
Anyone who notices smoke or fire in their area anywhere in the Shoalhaven is encouraged to ring triple-0 and RFS crews will investigate.