Wild winds increase fire risk

High winds throughout the region yesterday had local residents, not just fire fighters, worried.

In Yass’ main street a tree branch fell onto the road, bringing traffic to a stand still.

In no time at all the SES, police and council workers had cleared the road.

The Rural Fire Service’s Peter Dyce said as winds increase, the fire risk also increases.

“If you get a combination of very high temperatures and high winds, you have a recipe for a very good fire.”

He warned residents not to operate machinery or do anything that could start a fire.

“Turn off electric fences and anything that could generate a spark.”

He said people should ask themselves if the job really needed to be done on such hot days.

“Many fires start as a result of human activities, including working with machinery, and the risk of more fires is high in these extremely dry conditions.”

Powerlines damaged by windy weather can also cause problems for fire crews.

Essential Energy warned the public to stay alert for fallen lines or vegetation touching wires as the temperatures increase.

“With the heatwave conditions forecast across the State, we remind the public that powerlines can sag in extreme heat, sway in strong winds and can be difficult to see,” Essential Energy’s regional general manager South Eastern, Phillip Green, said.

“If overhead powerlines appear damaged, are sagging or have fallen to the ground, keep eight metres clear, don’t touch or move them under any circumstances, and contact Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.”

He said on total fire ban days a strategy is in place to minimise the risk of electricity network faults causing bushfires.

“If a network fault occurs, the power supply will be shut off until our network technicians have located and addressed the cause,” Mr Green said.

He said it may take some time to find and fix the fault in remote parts of the network and extended power supply interruptions could occur.

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