Essential Energy is advising customers to prepare their properties to minimise fire risk following the declaration of the bushfire danger period in 10 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across regional NSW. Prevailing dry conditions have seen the NSW Rural Fire Service declare the danger period from 1 August in Armidale Regional, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha LGAs, with other areas to follow from 1 October 2018. Regional manager North Coast, Ross Berry, said the warm conditions, combined with an increased potential for windy weather from August to November, could heighten the bushfire risk. “Residents can help minimise the chance of items being blown into powerlines in severe winds and the risk of bushfire by cleaning up around the yard,” Ross said. “Simple steps such as mowing lawns regularly, clearing any leaves and debris from gutters and removing loose items from around the garden can help to protect your property. “Ensure trees are not growing too close to overhead powerlines and report any concerns regarding branches or vegetation to Essential Energy on 13 20 80.” Essential Energy encourages property owners to be aware of the fire danger rating each day and avoid using power tools or performing tasks that may generate a spark outdoors during days of severe, extreme or catastrophic ratings. “It’s recommended that rural property owners have access to back-up power to pump water and keep a mobile phone charged during high bushfire risk days,” Ross said. “While the danger period continues through to 31 March 2019, this is an ideal time to reduce the risks now before the summer temperatures set in.” Property owners are advised to complete a Bushfire Survival Plan and Farm FireWise Checklist available on the RFS’s website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. For more bushfire and electrical safety information, visit essentialenergy.com.au/bushfire.