Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans
Bushfire danger ratings are issued by the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) during the bushfire danger period.
Fire Danger Ratings give you an indication of the consequences of a fire if one was to start. The higher the fire danger, the more dangerous the conditions. You should use the Fire Danger Ratings as a trigger to take action.
Bushfires are more likely to spread and cause damage on days when the weather is very hot, dry and windy. These are usually on very high to catastrophic fire days.
To reduce the risk of fires damaging or destroying life, property and the environment the NSW RFS Commissioner may declare a Total Fire Ban (TOBAN). In a Total Fire Ban no fire may be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended. This includes incinerators and barbecues (BBQ) which burn solid fuel, e.g. wood, charcoal or heat beads. No general-purpose welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting can be done in the open. There are heavy penalties for people caught throwing lit cigarette butts from a vehicle, these escalate on days of a TOBAN.
When driving through long grass there’s a good chance it will get caught up underneath your vehicle. The hot exhaust will eventually ignite any tinder-dry grass. Even parking in long grass when the engine is hot can cause a grass (and vehicle) fire.
Find out more about the Total Fire Ban rules.
Bushfire Survival Plan
Getting ready for a bushfire is easier than you think. The NSW RFS recommends making a bushfire survival plan so you know what you will do if there’s a fire near you.
Download the latest version of the NSW Rural Fire Service’s Get Ready for a Bushfire: Four Simple Steps to Making Your Bush Fire Survival Plan.
There are four simple steps to get ready for a bush fire:
Discuss what to do if a bushfire threatens your home.
Many households find that having a discussion over dinner works best as everybody is together and focussed.
Prepare your home and get it ready for bushfire season.
There are simple things you can do around your home to prepare it for a bushfire, like keeping the grass low and having a cleared area around your home.
Know the bushfire alert levels.
If there is a fire in your area you will find its alert level on the NSW RFS website and in the ‘Fires Near Me’ app. You need to keep track of the alert level so you know what you should do.
Keep all the bushfire information numbers, websites and the smartphone app.
In a bushfire, it’s important that you stay up to date on conditions in your area.
What to do during a bushfire
Remember to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a bushfire survival plan, ensure you know what you will do before, during and after the fire.
Remember, leaving early is your safest option!
Before the fire
- Put on your protective clothing
- Listen to ABC Central West on digital radio or via radio on 1395 AM/94.1FM for information, updates and advice
- Bring pets inside and keep them in one room
- Close all windows and doors
- Block spaces beneath doors and windows with wet towels
- Fill buckets, sinks and bathtubs with water ready to put out spot fires
- Have your firefighting equipment like pumps and hoses connected to your water supply
- Block downpipes and fill gutters with water
- Remove items which can burn from around your home like outdoor furniture and wood piles
- Bring ladders inside to check roof space for embers
- Patrol the outside of your home putting out any embers or spot fires
- Just before the fire arrives, wet down timber decks and gardens close to the house
- Move any firefighting equipment to a place where it will not get burnt
During the fire
- Go inside but stay alert
- Shelter in a room on the opposite side of the house from the approaching fire and one that has a clear exit out of the house
- Patrol inside the house, including the roof space looking for sparks and embers
- Protect yourself from the heat of the fire
- If your life is at risk, call triple zero (000)
Once the fire has passed
- Check your roof spaces
- Go outside and put out any part of your house which is alight
- Check under the house and any decks
- Check on your pets and animals
- Embers or sparks can start spot fires for many hours after the fire has passed
- If you can, contact your family and friends and check on your neighbours