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NSW: Bad bushfire weather coming to NSW

18 Jan 2009 9:43 AM

SYDNEY, Jan 18 AAP - Firefighters are working to secure hotspots around NSW ahead of a week of sweltering weather forecast for most of the state.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) has issued warnings to people in bushfire-prone areas to secure their homes and decide in advance if they are going stay and fight, or get out early if their homes come under threat.

Crews used cooler conditions on Sunday to monitor 20 bushfires that have been contained or nearly extinguished so they do not re-ignite.

>From Monday, temperatures will soar to the high 30s in Sydney's west and up to 40 in far west NSW.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 100 firefighters are working hard before the hot conditions arrive.

"They're trying to take advantage of these milder conditions to consolidate that containment before we head into that hotter, dryer conditions of next week," Mr Fitzsimmons told the Seven Network on Sunday.

"Any existing fire grounds have to be watched carefully and can obviously be problematic."

If new bushfires ignite, crews will have difficulty getting the upper hand, he warned.

"If we get new fires, as we saw last week, they will burn and burn fairly quickly," he said.

Mr Fitzsimmons also warned residents in bushfire-prone areas to plan ahead if their homes come under threat.

Remove natural and man-made flammable materials from gutters, gardens and other parts of properties.

Residents under threat should decide in advance if they are going to stay and defend their homes or leave early.

Most injuries or deaths during bushfires happen when residents stay until the last minute and then flee their property.

Residents can visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au to learn about developing their own bushfire plan.