YESTERDAY’S scorching heat and howling winds gave Griffith a taste of what to expect this summer.
Locals sweltered through the hottest October day in six years, with the mercury hitting 36 degrees.
The danger of a catastrophic bushfire had all three emergency services on ready alert.
The Rural Fire Service (RFS) issued a severe fire danger warning and enforced a total fire ban due to the hot, dry and windy conditions.
NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said if a fire had broken out under yesterday’s conditions he would have issued the directive to evacuate homes.
“These are dangerous times and it’s critical you understand the risk and make your final preparations now, do not leave it until the last minute,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
“Under these conditions, any fire that starts and takes hold will spread quickly and may threaten homes and lives without warning.”
The NSW police force was on the hunt for any opportunistic firebugs who thought they would capitalise on the extreme conditions.
During last year’s bushfire season, legal action was taken against 87 people in NSW for bushfire-related offences and 55 of those were juveniles.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke wanted to remind people they could put the heat on arsonists by reporting any suspicious activity.
“The outcomes of bushfires can be catastrophic and reports of deliberately lit bushfires are treated extremely seriously,” Assistant Commissioner Clarke said.
NSW Ambulance reminded the community not to treat the weather conditions lightly as heat can kill.
Paramedics urged the public to stay cool and hydrated to avoid heat stroke.
The weather forecast predicted maximums of 22 and 28 degrees across the weekend, but the hot weather won’t be gone for long.
There was a 70 per cent chance Griffith would experience a hotter than average summer according to the Bureau of Meteorology.