RFS on alert as temps build

Multiple warnings were issued last week about the potential for a heatwave in New South Wales over the weekend. Most Snowy Valleys residents reported hot, but tolerable conditions, with the SVC’s pools emptying out on Saturday due to thunderstorms and “quiet” on Sunday.

RFS District Manager Jon Gregory said there are continuing concerns today (Tuesday) with elevated temperatures expected and the potential for strong winds.

The official high for Tumut was 37 degrees, recorded on Saturday at 1pm by the RFS portable weather station. Mr Gregory said some areas of the Snowy Valleys LGA reached 40 on Saturday, with strong winds bringing down trees across the district.

“We had one reported lightning strike in the Yaven Creek area,” he said. Last year, the Dunns Road fire started with a lightning strike on December 28. 

“We sent a number of crews out to try and locate that [strike], in conjunction with Hume Forest, but we were unable to locate anything,” he said. 

“We subsequently went back yesterday and couldn’t find anything.”

Generous rains this year mean that the RFS has been nervous about grass growth and the potential for fires, especially to the west of the SVC.

“We had crews across the district on standby to provide support into neighbouring districts to the west and they had quite significant activity over there, but were able to deal with that with the resources they had,” said Mr Gregory.

Now that the fire season is officially in full swing, Mr Gregory said RFS crews will be available whenever required, either in the SVC or to support neighbouring areas.

Anyone who spots a lightning strike, smoke, or other fire indicator is urged to call 000.

Mr Gregory also strongly encouraged smartphone users to download the Emergency+ app, a free app developed by Australia’s emergency services and their Government and industry partners.

The app uses GPS functionality built into smartphones to “help a Triple Zero (000) caller provide critical location details required to mobilise emergency services.”

Mr Gregory said it makes it simpler for people to give emergency services an exact location of the incident.

“It gives you a location on the screen and you can read it out to 000,” he explained, “so if you’re driving along the side of the road and you see something and you think where am I? It will tell you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fire or a police matter or someone’s collapsed and needs help, it tells you where you are.”

The app is free to download via the Apple app store or Google Play.