Fire rating: catastrophic

'CATASTROPHIC' is the new category added to the NSW Fire Danger Ratings system yesterday by the Minister for Emergency Services, Steve Whan.

The move came after a Royal Commission into the Victorian bushfires found the current system, used in Victoria and NSW, was inadequate.

Read more about fire and fire alerts.

The new system is based on 100 risk points.

Catastrophic fires are declared when there are 100 or more risk points.

Fires in the catastrophic category are deemed uncontrollable, unpredictable and very fast-moving with highly aggressive flames extending high above tree tops and buildings.

Inspector Daniel Ainsworth, from the Rural Fire Service at Casino, said during catastrophic fires the service was recommending people did not stay and fight.

“People should leave early,” he said.

A brochure available at the Rural Fire Service website said residents should not expect assistance from fire trucks during catastrophic, extreme, and severe fire dangers.

It would be difficult to see, hear and breathe during this category of fire.

Lives would be lost, people injured and homes and business destroyed or damaged, and even well-prepared and well- constructed homes would not be safe, the brochure warned.

Power, water and phone networks would be expected to fail as severe winds would bring down trees and power lines.

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