Summer in Port Stephens brings first bushfire

The first week into summer and Port Stephens has already experienced its first bushfire, prompting the NSW Rural Fire Service to reissue a warning to residents to be prepared for the season ahead.

While largely contained on Tuesday, the bushfire in Medowie had burned through 130 hectares of land in the Moffats Swamp Nature Reserve area, and was being monitored by members of the Medowie Rural Fire Brigade.

NSW RFS media liaison officer Leanne Bell said the cause of the fire, which started on Friday evening, was under investigation by the RFS.

At the height of the fire on Friday night up to 27 firefighters and seven trucks from RFS units across Port Stephens and surrounds, assisted by NSW Fire and Rescue crews, were called upon to fight the blaze being fanned by strong winds.

"No properties were under direct threat although the blaze reached within about 1km of properties located along the eastern edge of Medowie," Ms Bell said.

"Fire crews worked hard throughout the night and by Saturday the fire had been downgraded to advice level."

Ms Bell said that the prolific number of bushfires burning throughout the state and across the Lower Hunter had been a timely reminder to residents of Port Stephens to remain alert with forecasts of a long hot and dry summer.

"We are less than one week into the summer [so] residents are being urged to prepare their homes and to know what to do in the event of a bushfire in their area," she said.

"Information on bushfire plans are available on the RFS website and people should download the latest version of the 'fires near me' app to ensure they get notification of fire threats on their mobile device."

The Bureau of Meteorology, meanwhile, has updated its 2019/20 summer outlook, revealing large parts of the eastern board were likely to see a continuation of the warmer and drier than average conditions experienced throughout spring.

"The climate outlook shows a high likelihood of warmer than average days and nights for most of the country, while rainfall is likely to be below average for large parts of the nation's east."

The RFS is encouraging residents to download the Fires Near Me smartphone app to monitor fires in the area and stay up to date with information.

Comments