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Rain prompts RFS to rethink bushfire danger start date

Friday August 22, 2014 - 15:20 EST
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Rain prompts RFS to rethink bushfire danger start date in Hunter. - ABC

Heavy rain in the past few days led the Rural Fire Service to reassess plans to bring forward the bushfire danger period in the Hunter region to September the first.

The season has already officially been declared on the mid-north coast, where there have already been several large bushfires this month due to the dry conditions.

RFS Lower Hunter Superintendent Jason McKellar says conditions have improved significantly and the local fire season has been delayed.

"If we didn't get any rain through August we were certainly going to have to look at the first of September, just because things were unseasonably dry," he said.

"The rain that we have had in the Lower Hunter in the last two or three days and were continuing to have is fantastic.

"It's delayed the start of the fire season and it'll go back to it's normal start which is the first of October."
Superintendent McKellar says the rain has delayed hazard reduction burns but crews are still preparing for hot conditions ahead.

"We're still doing what we call mechanical hazard reduction that's we use machinery to clear breaks behind houses and upgrade our trails through the bush.

"We obviously can't go out and conduct hazard reduction burning in this weather but as soon as the weather breaks and you get a little bit more dry, we'll certainly be back into our program up until a point where its too hot and dry and can't do it any more."


© ABC 2014

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