Worst summer in ten years

Volunteer firefighters breathed a sigh of relief as rain fell across the Yass Valley this week.

“We’ve certainly all relaxed,” Michael Gray, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) group one captain, said.

“There’s no pressure on us at the moment while this weather keeps up.”

Peter Dyce from the RFS was hopeful the cool change would put an end to the worst fire season in a decade.

“I would think that we’ve seen the worst of it,” the community education officer for the Southern Ranges zone, said.

Mr Gray agreed volunteers in the area hadn’t experienced a summer this dangerous for 10 years.

However, the drought leading up to the 2003 fires made it easier for firefighters to get blazes under control.

“In 2003 we had extremely dry conditions, and catastrophic conditions but the grassland country was very bare,” he said.

The past two wet summers provided a lot of long grass to feed the fires.

Although, he said the recent rain would mean green grass would come up underneath any long, dry grass.

“This will take the ferocity out of any fires.”

The official fire season is set to end on March 31.

“A decision will be made coming close to the end of March to let the fire season lapse or extend it,” Superintendent Dyce said.

He said just two weeks ago he would have expected the fire season to run well into April but the recent rain should bring that prediction back.

“I think it’s winding down but it’s not the end of it,” he said.

“We’re still going to have areas where there will be fire risk… There are still areas around Yass that are very dry.”

On Monday afternoon a fire burnt around three hectares of land in the Good Hope and Cavan area.

A powerline came down and sparked the blaze.

“They’re the sort of things that can happen at any time,” he said.

“Our brigades and the fire fighters are always ready to respond to any incident that they are asked to attend.

“We’re just hoping its going to continue to be nice and quiet and let us get on with our work.”

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