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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Total fire ban: stay safe today

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Surf Life Saving NSW is warning beachgoers to swim at patrolled locations today as record October temperatures are predicted the length of the coastline.

While the surf is forecast to be quite small, Surf Life Saving NSW lifesaving manager, Andy Kent, warns that swimmers should still be mindful of hazards such as rip currents.

‘We are expecting an influx of people flocking to the beach on Thursday due to the high temperatures and beachgoers need to remain vigilant and swim at patrolled locations where possible.

‘Sometimes people can be caught unaware when the surf is smaller but there are still hazards on our beaches and swimming in between the red and yellow flags is the best way to ensure a safe trip to the beach,’ said Mr Kent.

‘With the high temperatures forecast it’s going to feel like the middle of summer out there, meaning beachgoers should stay hydrated and reapply sunscreen every two hours, and try to avoid the sun through the middle of the day.’

Paid lifeguards are currently on patrol across the metro beaches in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong as well as at a number of regional centres such as Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Port Stephens and Salt.

Check beachsafe.org.au for details of which beaches are patrolled in your local area.

RFS-LogoThe NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has confirmed parts of the state will experience extreme fire danger today.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said hot, dry and windy conditions are forecast, and there is the potential for some locations to reach Catastrophic if the weather deteriorates beyond what is forecast.

Total fire bans will be in force in the following 15 areas, including the far north coast from midnight Wednesday to midnight Thursday.

‘These are dangerous conditions, and it’s critical that you understand the risk and make your final preparations now – do not leave it until the last minute,’ said Commissioner Fitzsimmons.

‘Under these conditions, any fire that starts and takes hold will spread quickly and may threaten homes and lives without warning.

‘It is not too late to make a bush fire survival plan. If you live in or near a bushland area, sit down now with your family and ensure everyone knows what they will do if there is a fire.

‘The NSW RFS is liaising closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to monitor conditions.’

Extreme is the second highest level of bush fire danger rating.

If there is a fire that takes hold under these conditions, it may not be safe to stay in any home that is not specially designed or modified for bush fires. The safest option is to leave early.

Today is the day to be extra vigilant at the beach and in the bush.

SLSNSW Surf Safety Messages:

  • always swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
  • if you require assistance, stay calm, float and raise your arm to attract attention
  • observe safety signs
  • boaties should check their local forecast, seek advice from NSW Maritime and always wear a lifejacket
  • visit Beachsafe for information on patrolled beaches/times
  • if witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero (000) – Police
  • never enter the water if you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs
  • slip, slop, slap
  • seek shade and keep hydrated.


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