Recent heavy rainfall events on the South Coast will not minimise the severity of this summer's increased fire risk, according to a former NSW chief fire commissioner.
Former Fire and Rescue NSW chief commissioner Greg Mullins also said regions affected during the 2019 Black Summer bushfires had regenerated quicker than expected and fuel loads across the region were high.
Earlier forecasts, which stated Black Summer burnt areas wouldn't burn this season, have been revised.
"They will [burn], they can, and they have been," Mr Mullins said.
"Two to three weeks of hot weather and the bush will be ready to burn again. After a month of hot weather, it will be getting critical."
According to Mr Mullins recent flash flooding and rainfall will dry out quickly. He said heavy, fast downpours will not soak into the root systems and will instead wash over.
"If it goes hot and dry from now, we'll soon be back into drought territory," Mr Mullins said.
"We need to find out what the real risks are and help communities come up with their own solutions, because on the worst days they might not have any emergency services there, they might be somewhere else and that's what happened in Black Summer."
The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook Report for summer 2023 released by the Australian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) confirmed abundant vegetation growth caused by the recent La Nina weather systems had increased fuel loads.
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AFAC, who is the peak national body for fire and emergency services, said this was likely to dry out further over summer.
As a result eastern NSW was among areas likely to see above normal potential for fire throughout summer.
The report stated the speed at which Black Summer burnt areas recovered their foliage growth was unusual. And AFAC chief executive Rob Webb said the increased risk highlighted the importance for individuals to take action.
"Wherever you live, work or visit this summer, know where to find bushfire information, prepare your property, and talk to your family and friends about what you will do in an emergency," Mr Webb said.
"Communities can stay safer and support our fire agencies by being prepared for bushfire this summer."
For information on bushfire safety, visit NSW Rural Fire Service.
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