Don’t fire up the barbie today

THE Rural Fire Service is reminding everyone to resist barbecuing today, as there is a total fire ban in most of the state — unless, of course, you are barbecuing under the right conditions.

‘‘People can use gas and electric barbecues, so long as the barbecue is close to a water source and monitored by a responsible person,’’ Lyn Liston, the community safety officer for the Hills District RFS, said.

She said the fire danger index was expected to be very high today.

‘‘It’s pushing a fire index of 50,’’ Ms Liston said.

‘‘Probably our closest recording, which is Richmond, is 36 degrees with a 14 per cent relative humidity and winds are expected to be around the 30 to 45-kilometre mark before a cool change this afternoon.

‘‘Obviously with the total fire bans we say not to light fires and wood-fired barbecues.

‘‘And from a bushfire-preparation point of view, we’re asking that you make sure that your property is prepared.’’

Ms Liston’s tips include:

■cleaning roof valleys and gutters of leaf litter;

■clearing the area around your home of more consistent vegetation;

■mowing lawns;

■managing garden beds; and

■checking that your tank or pool’s pump is working and operable.

‘‘Stay alert and listen to any warnings that may come over the internet or radio of any fire activity within the vicinity and enact your bushfire survival plan which is available at the Rural Fire Service website,," Ms Liston said.

Annangrove Brigade captain Jim Visioni said: ‘‘We’re all aware of the potential for fire today and have called up all the local preschools and schools — and other institution within our area — just to make sure they are aware of it too.

‘‘We do that in our area every time there is a total fire ban.’’

To 2.14pm the hottest suburbs have included: Gosford 34.2˚C, Richmond 33.3˚C, Horsley Park 32.4˚C, Holsworthy 32.5, Campbelltown 30.1˚C, Bankstown 31.0˚C and Sydney Airport 26.1˚C.

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