Further total fire bans as hot weather continues 22 January 2010 Further total fire bans have been declared across parts of NSW, including Sydney, due to continuing hot and dry weather. NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said total fire bans have been declared in the following areas for Saturday 23 January 2010: • Greater Sydney including Blue Mountains • Upper Central West Plains (Severe) and Central Coast (Severe) • Lower Central West Plains (Severe) • Greater Hunter (Severe) • Southern Slopes (Severe) • Illawarra Shoalhaven (Severe) • Eastern Riverina (Severe) • Monaro Alpine (Severe) • Southern Riverina (Severe) • Southern Ranges (Severe) • Northern Riverina (Severe) • Central Ranges (Severe) • South Western (Severe) “In the past 24 hours, we have seen some very hot and dry conditions across NSW, especially around the south and south-west of the State,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said. “The hot weather is extending into other areas of NSW, bringing widespread total fire bans. “Under these conditions, it is critical that people exercise commonsense and ensure they and their properties are well prepared for the risk of fire,” he said. Commissioner Fitzsimmons said with many people still travelling or taking a long weekend due to the Australia Day holiday on Tuesday, it is important for people to take precautions. “For people who are travelling, know the fire danger in the area you’re visiting and ensure you have a plan for what to do if a fire affects that area. “Also, if your area is under a total fire ban, make sure you know the rules and take appropriate steps to prevent fires”. Under a total fire ban, all fires out in the open are prohibited. You may use a gas or electric barbeque if: • it is on a residential property within 20 metres of the house or dwelling ; • it is a picnic area and the appliance is approved by Council, National Parks or State Forest; • it is under the direct control of a responsible adult; • the ground within 2 metres of the barbecue is cleared of all materials which could burn; • you have an immediate and continuous supply of water available. For further information or interviews, please contact the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) State Duty Media Officer on (02) 9898 1855.