Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant visited the Mountains today (Wednesday) to announce $1.2 million in funding for the Blaxland Rural Fire Service station.
The Attunga Road station will act as a second divisional command facility for the region in bushfire emergencies.
Mr Grant told the Gazette the station was important to the region.
“The new station will also serve as a divisional command post during serious emergencies. It will have the necessary infrastructure to manage frontline firefighting resources across the region.”
Mr Grant said the station replaces the current shed with a modern facility to include four truck bays, training amenities and the command post.
“Once completed, volunteers will be able to undertake a variety of training courses at the station, such as basic firefighter and crew leader qualifications, making it really convenient for firefighters to enhance their skills,” Mr Grant said.
Building is expected to start in coming months.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres welcomed the opportunities it will create for local volunteers.
“The current station, which was built by volunteers in the 1970s, has served the Blaxland brigade and local community well but I am confident the new facility will futureproof the RFS’s presence in the region.
“People in the Mountains are all too aware of the risk posed by bush fires. Any additional investment bolstering local firefighting capacity ... is money well spent.”
It follows the announcement this week that the Mountains official bushfire danger period begins at the start of next month – four weeks earlier than usual.
“While October 1 is the official commencement of the (state-wide) 2017/18 bushfire season, the danger period for Blue Mountains will commence on September 1 due to continuing dry conditions,” District manager, Superintendent David Jones said.
Supt Jones had urged residents to complete a Bushfire Survival Plan to ensure all know what to do on days of increased fire danger. Those plans are available for pick-up at the coming Bushfire Expo on September 9 at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood.
Residents should prepare by removing flammable materials from their yards, clearing gutters of leaves, checking hoses and, where appropriate, conducting hazard reduction activities, Supt Jones said.
Residents can ask their local fire control centre for assistance in carrying out safe hazard reductions and for advice about whether they need a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate.
“With conditions becoming more conducive to the spread of fire, people need to be extremely careful when using fire.”
The Minister also visited Medlow Bath brigade on Wednesday to officially handover a new $315,000 Category 1 firefighting tanker, which can hold up to 4,000 litres of water.