Fire trails and access points are being strengthened to support firefighters on the frontline through more than $2 million in joint Commonwealth and New South Wales Government funding.
Funding is being provided through the Bush Fire Grants Scheme under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Natural Disaster Resilience.
This latest round of grants will cover a number of local government areas including the Blue Mountains, Cobar, Central Coast, Cabonne, Lake Macquarie, Hornsby, Wagga Wagga and Orange.
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds, who has responsibility for Commonwealth disaster assistance, said the funding will be used to improve fire trails and access points to support emergency services.
“We have seen the widespread devastation bush fires can cause in NSW with conditions becoming increasingly challenging,” Assistant Minister Reynolds said.
“It is vital that vegetation is managed to ensure our emergency services personnel have the best access to protect homes, and increase safety and firefighting capabilities.
“The Commonwealth is working closely with the NSW Government to strengthen capabilities at a local level, and this funding will assist the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) to reduce bush fire risks in priority areas.”
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant stressed the importance of understanding and managing bush fire risks across NSW.
“Right now we’re in the midst of some of the hottest continuous conditions our state has seen in decades, and with that, comes the increasingly dangerous threat of bush fires,” Minister Grant said.
“We know bush fires can have a devastating impact on communities across NSW, and our incredibly dedicated NSW RFS volunteers are at the forefront of the ongoing emergency response.
“By improving fire trails we maximise the potential strength of that response, which ultimately means more lives saved, more properties and homes protected, and generally safer communities across the state.”
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said bush fire preparations are a cooperative effort between emergency services, land agencies, state and local governments, and the community.
“Local brigades, government agencies and land managers undertake as much hazard reduction as possible to prepare for the threat of bush fires,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
“Already this season our crews have responded to thousands of bush fires across NSW, while also providing crucial support to our interstate colleagues. But remember, it’s never too late for home owners to start preparing their property, or to make or update their survival plan.”