A further by product of the drought is the potential for a more serious than usual bushfire season.
Recent rain has brought some improvement to the outlook but timber and grass fuel remains very dry ahead of the summer season warns Namoi-Gwydir RFS superintendent Michael Brooks.
"We need sustained wet weather to ease the dry fuel situation” Supt, Brooks said.
“The lack of soil moisture is a big issue. It makes the situation very volatile. The rain has helped the process of regenerating the trees, but they are a long way from coming back.
“The evidence in Pilliga Forest is that the very dry trees are not really coming back quickly.
“The long term soil moisture index and drought conditions indicate it will be a problem for quite a while yet until we really receive some significant rain.”
Supt. Brooks said 86 RFS brigades in the Namoi-Gwydir region, with brigades varying from six up to 30 volunteers, had been preparing for the fire season
“We have been undertaking basic training for new members and some other members have done more specialised training, all our vehicles have been serviced and inspected, our radio systems have all been serviced and inspected, we have reviewed all our operational plans, and we have been liaising with other organisations like National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry, shire councils and emergency services.”