Extreme heat will slam NSW over coming days, prompting s statewide total fire ban

Firefighters continue to battle a blaze at Staggs Lane. Photo by Mandy Ravencirce.
Firefighters continue to battle a blaze at Staggs Lane. Photo by Mandy Ravencirce.

With truly testing conditions predicted to set in across NSW in the coming days, authorities are taking no chances.

A statewide Total Fire Ban will remain in place from midnight Tuesday, December 17 to midnight Saturday, December 21.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts severe to extreme heatwave conditions, with day time temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees above average for this time of the year.

A top of 42 degrees is predicted for Tamworth on Thursday, rising to 44 degrees on Sunday, and dropping back slightly to 38 degrees on Monday.

On the fire front, the Retreat fire, near Uralla, was "being controlled" on Tuesday. It has already burnt out more than 648 hectares.

The Warrabah National Park blaze has accounted for over 814 hectares of bushland.

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One of the fires causing concern in the North West is Staggs Lane. Firefighters worked through the night on Monday, protecting homes along Rifle Range Road.

The Staggs Lane fire has increased significantly since a lightning strike caused bush land to ignite last Wednesday.

It has now swept through 1200 hectares within the Goonoowigall State Conservation Area between Inverell and Gilgai.

What to do:

  • Stay indoors if you can
  • Watch out to elderly neighbours
  • Don't leave children or pets in hot cars
  • Stay hydrated

Doctors are warning anyone with pre-existing health conditions to take extra care.

What to look out for:

  • Thirst, dizziness, feeling nauseous, vomiting, general signs of illness and distress

Deputy Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said we need to watch out for each other.

"Whilst we do see cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion on these really hot days, we see increased risks of all kinds of conditions. Heat places a great deal of strain on the body and so if you are somebody who has, for example, diabetes or a heart condition it can make those conditions worse," he said.

"This is an unprecedented emergency from a smoke point of view...and it is really important people are aware of the risks from smoke. Now for most people the risks are that you might experience mild like sore eyes, throat, a bit of a cough, but people with existing heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive because the smoke can make those things worse."

The smoke lingering across NSW has been declared a public health emergency in a joint statement signed by 22 health and medical organisations.

In it doctors, nurses and medical scientists have called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to put health at the forefront of climate action.

This story Total fire ban, extreme heat will impact NSW in coming days first appeared on The Armidale Express.