VOLUNTEER firefighters in Dubbo, Narromine and Wellington are being urged to be be "smart with water use" and to consider "dry firefighting strategies" due to the ongoing drought.
Currently 100 per cent of the Central West is drought affected, while in the Central Tablelands the figure is 98.5 per cent.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) issued a statewide alert to all of its members on Tuesday afternoon which said the drought had had an impact on the ability to fight fires.
"Brigades are being encouraged to be smart with water use and consider different firefighting strategies if required," the alert stated.
"[With] water restrictions in force in many areas across the state, it's important that brigades adhere to restrictions and limit the use of town or drinking water for non-essential activities.
"Where appropriate, consideration should be given for alternate tactics including dry firefighting strategies and heavy plant engagement."
I've been in the game for a long, long time and I haven't seen this situation in my lifetime.- NSW Rural Fire Serivce Orana zone Superintendent Lyndon Wieland
In the RFS Orana zone, Superintendent Lyndon Wieland said one dry firefighting technique was to create containment lines using a dozer or grader and then wait for the fire to reach the lines.
Once the fire reaches the area where there is no fuel left to burn it will extinguish.
Supt Wieland said this can only be done during the right weather conditions and where no assets such as homes, structures, fencing or stock will be impacted.
The current drought conditions and severe lack of water have left him very concerned for the bushfire season ahead.
"I've been in the game for a long, long time and I haven't seen this situation in my lifetime," Supt Wieland said.
"We have to reconsider how we fight fires and whether to drop millions and millions of litres on a fire that will not go anywhere.
"It's all about not wasting any water because it's become very precious."
Supt Wieland said if firefighters need to source water from a dam on a farm to fight a fire, that the owner can apply to get this water back.
"If we have to do that to protect assets we'd certainly give the owner contact details to get the water replaced very soon," he said.
Supt Wieland urged rural property owners not to burn off when the fire danger risk was at 'very high' or above and that people were responsible for any damage their fire caused to neighbouring properties.
Bushfire danger period in the Orana zone runs from October 1 until March 31.
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