The Greater Sydney Region is today experiencing a total fire ban amid rising temperatures and dry northwesterly winds, with more fire danger on the way this week.
The term 'fire danger' is becoming a disturbingly common term in Sydney's vocabulary this spring, following an early build up of heat over the nation's interior and a lack of early-season rainfall around Sydney.
Western fringes of the Sydney basin saw the season's first significant bushfires just 10 days into September, with a number of other burns getting out of control since then.
There have been six days over 30 degrees in Bankstown so far this season and today will be the seventh. This is more than three times more than usual when compared to the long term average.
As temperatures climb into the low-to-mid thirties across the Sydney Basin today, a severe Fire Danger Rating has resulted in a total fire ban being issue by the Rural Fire Service. This means that no fires are to be lit in the Greater Sydney Region Total Fire Ban District.
Conditions will not be moderated until later this evening when a cooler southwesterly change arrives. The change will not bring much, if any rainfall, although a welcome reduction in temperatures will reduce the fire risk.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be cooler with isolated showers. However, another pulse of heat and gusty northwesterly winds on Thursday will reignite Sydney's fire danger once again.
On Thursday, Sydney is likely to see a severe Fire Danger Rating. Temperatures are forecast to reach their highest levels since January across Sydney, including coastal areas.
At this stage the greatest period of risk will be from late morning until the afternoon, when the hottest temperatures combine with dry northwesterly winds gusting to 60-80km/h.
A gusty but cooler southerly change will once again move through at night on Thursday, bringing late relief. This will make Friday a much cooler day, one more suitable for fighting any fires that are still burning.
© Weatherzone 2013
14:03 EDT New South Wales Agriculture Minister Katrina Hodgkinson and Shadow Minister Steve Whan have debated agricultural policy ahead of the state election.