Serious threat ... fire brigades are put on high alert as fears that public complacence about fire saftey is worsening. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
PARTS of the state are facing their most serious bushfire threat in more than a decade amid a heatwave across much of Australia.
The Rural Fire Service said brigades statewide had been briefed about the conditions, and there were concerns public complacence about fire safety was worsening.
The RFS deputy commissioner, Rob Rogers, said parts of the state, particularly in the west and the south, faced the most serious bushfire threat in 12 years.
''We've had two record wet years and before that 10 years of drought when there was nothing to burn, so people haven't had a major fire danger for 12 years in some cases,'' he said. ''There could be a lot of complacency out there and that is obviously the biggest killer.''
A total fire ban is in place on Friday for the Riverina district. Groups of fire fighters from Sydney and the Hunter have toured parts of the state's west to see the conditions they will be up against if large fires break out in that region.
There were 35 bushfires in NSW on Thursday. Six were burning out of control, but none were threatening property.
A cool change is forecast after the hot weather this week. But temperatures will rise again, coupled with strong winds, next week.
''Early next week the vegetation will be pre-heated and very ready to burn. If the conditions come through that they are talking about then we would be quite concerned about weather early next week,'' Mr Rogers said.
''They will be the type of fires that start quickly, will be very difficult to contain and have the potential to cause quite a lot of damage.''
Mr Rogers said it was important that people prepared their homes for a bushfire and remained alert for possible outbreaks of fires if they were visiting national parks and regional areas.