The vast majority of NSW has begun a statutory Bush Fire Danger period from Sunday, October 1, with permits needed for fires from now until March 31 next year.
Meantime, with temperatures expected to hit the mid-30s and beyond around the state, there is a Total Fire Ban in place for regions around the Illawarra including Sydney, the South Coast and Southern Ranges on Sunday.
RFS Superintendent Martin Surrey said fuel loads remain high, particularly in the valleys throughout the Sutherland Shire and on the escarpment and grasslands through the Illawarra and it is so important that land managers and residents are prepared and remember that bush and grass fires can start any time.
"Landowners and land managers are required to obtain a Fire Permit from their local RFS before lighting any fires, including hazard reduction burns," Superintendent Surrey said.
"Never leave a fire unattended and if a fire does escape, it is essential to call Triple Zero (000) immediately so that emergency services can respond and minimise the damage."
People wanting to light a fire, must notify their intention to burn by visiting www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/notify.
Fire permits are not required for fires for the purpose of heating or cooking, provided that the fire is: in a permanently constructed fireplace, at a site surrounded by ground that is cleared of all combustible materials for a distance of at least two metres all around.
Superintendent Surrey also urged residents to prepare their homes for fire by cleaning your gutters, removing combustibles from your yard, trimming overhanging trees and shrubs, removing cuttings and clearing an area around your home.
If out and about camping, there is also a total ban on "solid fuel fires" within South Coast national parks from today, issues by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The "park fire ban" means that only gas, liquid fuel stoves and electric BBQs can be used during the fire season.
Former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins has been a volunteer firefighter with the NSW Rural Fire Service since he was 12 years old, and he's urged Illawarra residents to educate themselves on how to protect their family, pets and home now.
"Most people switch off and say 'it will never happen to me'," he said. "Take it seriously. There's huge complacency, but also a growing attitude that the government has to do everything for everyone.
"People need to understand their risks, embrace their risks, and know what to do about it."
"Understand what emergency warnings are when they come up on your phone and treat them very seriously. If you get one of those warnings, it's real and you're in a danger area," Mr Mullins said.
Fires are inevitable, as are days of extreme and catastrophic fire weather, he said.
"Don't fall into the trap of 'oh, this will be another Black Summer and there's nothing we can do'. That's not right, there's lots we can do."
The most up-to-date information will always be on the Hazards Near Me app, but you can always follow your local brigade.
Follow Illawarra Sutherland RFS here, then find your local brigade below (they're listed alphabetically) and follow them for more information.
The following brigades do not have Facebook pages:
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