The Rural Fire Service has declared an early start to the bushfire season for the Illawarra with the danger period to begin on September 1 - one month early.
Despite temperatures plummeting across the weekend with icy cold winds, a high fire danger was still forecast for the Illawarra from Friday through to Sunday.
NSW RFS Superintendent Greg Wardle said the fire danger for the past month increasingly touched on high - a trend he expected to see more of in coming weeks.
"For us, we're experiencing below average rainfall for this time of year and very low soil moisture - which are all adding to dry fuel loads across the landscape - both grass and bushland," he told the Mercury.
"Residents should prepare their property by removing flammable materials from their yards, clearing leaves from gutters, checking hoses can reach all around the house and where appropriate, conducting hazard reduction activities."
It comes as 10 firefighters from Helensburgh and Bulli head to the Northern Rivers to assist fighting multiple bushfires there. While two district staff have also temporarily left the region to assist the incident management team in the Clarence Valley.
Information about hazard reduction burns and other fire notifications are available on the NSWRFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/BFDP.