Fire season begins

LAST week's total fire ban - in just the first week of spring - could be a taste of things to come as the NSW Rural Fire Service predicts it will be on high alert this bushfire season.

Firefighters got some early practice as up to 90 firefighters and three waterbombing helicopters were used last week to control a hazard reduction burn which broke containment lines on Tuesday in Budderoo National Park.

The fire, which burned out more than 256 hectares west of Jamberoo, was fanned by strong winds.

National Parks and Wildlife Service ground crew joined the efforts and continued to monitor for spot fires and embers late last week.

Paul Best from the Rural Fire Service said the long-range forecast was for hotter and drier conditions than had been experienced in the past three years.

"But you need to bear in mind that the past two years have been wetter than usual," Mr Best said.

"The wetter summers have meant an increase in vegetation growth and with that comes an increase in fuel loads, so we are being cautious about the fire season.

"It is probably also worth noting that throughout the two wet years, volunteers have maintained their level of training and have practiced their skills and drills."

For more on bushfire survival planning, visit the www.rfs.nsw.gov.au website.

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