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The Rural Fire Service has declared a total fire ban for Sydney on Tuesday, the city’s first ban in almost three years, amid a five-day blast of heat.
The predicted fire rating for greater Sydney on Tuesday is High, the second tier of warning. However, Extreme fire ratings are expected for greater Sydney and the Hunter region on Wednesday, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting 40km/h north-westerly winds and searing temperatures of 34 degrees.
RFS conducting hazard reduction burns in western Sydney last week.Credit: Nick Moir
“During a Total Fire Ban you cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open, or to carry out any activity in the open that causes, or is likely to cause, a fire,” the RFS’s total fire ban rules state.
“General purpose hot works (such as welding, grinding or gas cutting or any activity that produces a spark or flame) are not to be done in the open.”
Adults are allowed to use electric and gas barbecues as long as they adhere to RFS regulations, including having no combustible material within two metres of the barbecue, and having access to a continuous supply of water.
The RFS has also enacted a total fire ban for the far South Coast region, including Bega Valley and Eurobodalla, as the fire danger rating for the region is predicted to hit Extreme on Tuesday.
The warning comes after Ulladulla snapped its September temperature record before midday, when the mercury hit 32.6 degrees.
The RFS made its most significant change to fire danger ratings in half a century before the last fire season. As per the updated ratings, an Extreme rating warns of dangerous fire conditions.
The RFS urges travellers to reconsider moving through risky areas and says that unless a property is prepared “to the highest level”, residents should move to a safer location if their property is threatened by fire.
Total fire bans are usually called on days with extreme or catastrophic fire risk.
The last ban for Sydney was on November 29, 2020.
On Monday, 22 uncontained bush, grass and scrub fires burned across NSW, include seven in the state’s south-east but no emergency warnings were in place.
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