Although there is rain forecast for the rest of the day, the Bush Fire Danger Period officially begins for the Lower Hunter on Friday.

This area includes the Cessnock, Dungog, Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas, where landholders will be required to obtain a permit before conducting burns on their properties.

Permits are free and are provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Inspector David Millsteed says residents and land managers should now start preparing for the threat of bush and grass fires.

“This means doing simple things like cleaning your gutters, removing combustibles from your yard, ensuring hoses can reach all corners of your property and completing or updating your bush fire survival plan, so you and your family know what you will do in the event of a bush fire.

“I encourage households to update their bush fire survival plan and make sure the whole family
knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives. Ask yourself, when you will go,
what you will take and where will you go,” Insp Millsteed said.

Information about hazard reduction burning, required notifications and obtaining permits is available on the NSW RFS website.