IT'S almost too hard to believe we are about to enter the bushfire danger period once again.
The scars of the devastating 2019 black summer bushfires can still be seen across the Port Macquarie-Hastings landscape with new growth, and renewed hope, we will not experience another fatal season like it again.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) today (August 26) announced the Port Macquarie-Hastings region and Mid Coast districts will enter an early bushfire danger period from Tuesday, September 1.
District manager Superintendent Kam Baker said an early fire season is not unusual, but increased grass growth due to recent rain could prove problematic.
From September 1, landowners and managers are required to obtain a fire permit from their local fire control centre before lighting any fires, including hazard reduction burns.
Supt Baker said now is the time for residents and land managers to start preparing for the threat of bush and grass fire.
Make sure the whole family knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives. Ask yourself - when you will go, what you will take and where will you go.Supt Kam Baker, RFS
When the fires were declared under control in 2019, the Mid Coast region had tragically lost two lives.
More than 150 homes were destroyed, nine facilities and 303 outbuildings were destroyed. A further 68 homes, 16 facilities and 139 outbuildings were damaged.
There were over 500 firefighters and 200 fire trucks from NSW RFS, FRNSW, Forestry Corporation and NPWS on the fire ground.
Over 20 aircraft and 125 heavy plant machinery supported the firefighting operations.
There were 26 emergency warnings issued to communities across the Mid North Coast from November 8 to November 14.
Fifty-eight fires burned between July and December, consuming a total of 420,000 hectares of bushland and decimating the local koala population. This represents more than 30 per cent of the combined Mid Coast and Port Macquarie-Hastings local government areas.
"We cannot be complacent coming into this season thinking that we won't see fire activity again. Bush and grass fires can strike at any time and it is vitally important to be prepared."
This means doing simple things like cleaning your gutters, removing combustibles from your yard, ensuring hoses can reach all corners of your property and completing or updating your bush fire survival plan, so you and your family know what you will do in the event of a bush fire.
"I encourage households to update their bush fire survival plan and make sure the whole family knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives. Ask yourself - when you will go, what you will take and where will you go," Supt Baker said.
On August 25, the government approved 76 recommendations in the NSW Bushfire Inquiry report.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there was a "sense of urgency" as "the next fire season is already upon us".
She also added the fact that the "climate is changing" was acknowledged in the inquiry's report.
Mr Elliott said the recommendations from the six-month inquiry did not contain "any real criticism" of the way the last bushfire season was approached.
He said there was a stronger focus on aviation assets, while NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers said the fire service would be looking at its night-time abilities.
Information about hazard reduction burning, required notifications and obtaining fire permits is available on the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/BFDP.