The official bush fire season may be over but not in the minds of Cowra residents who were alarmed to see thick smoke close to town last week.

Even though the fire attracted widespread attention it was simply a burn off which quickly burnt itself out.

The ongoing drought or near-drought conditions across vast expanses of the region means the risks are still there and we need to remain vigilant.

It is expected to be cooler this week but temperatures are running higher and rainfall lower than is normal for this time of year.

A quick scan of the land anywhere in our regions shows parched pastures that could ignite in a second.

NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said it has been a particularly busy season, with firefighters from all agencies responding to more than 13,000 bush and grass fires since July 1. 

The RFS has thanked the community for being vigilant during “what could have been a potentially very bad season”.

But fire risks remain until we have decent rain and lower temperatures.

People need to remain vigilant, pointing out that fire does not pay heed to calendar dates.

While Cowra has been lucky this summer RFS Canobolas zone manager Superintendent David Hoadley said 500-600 people had been involved in the Mount Canobolas fight near Orange.

Going forward the onus is on all of us to stay vigilant and help the RFS and local NSW Fire and Rescue brigades by giving close attention to future fire and damage prevention.

Ensure the fire alarms and smoke detectors in your homes are working properly.

Follow the warnings and tips issued for the winter months on avoiding blazes in the home.

Between now and October 31 start to prepare for the next bush fire season.

You can do so by ensuring you keep the grounds around properties tidy and free from fire fuel and most importantly make sure you update your bush fire plan.

It could save your family’s lives.  f you haven’t done one … do it now.

The tips are available from the RFS and your local fire brigade. Get cracking.

The best we can do for the firies is to do the right thing now to help them prevent and limit fires and the damage.