Bushfires threaten lives, homes in Western Australia.(photo: Facebook/Department of Fire and Emergency Services)

Canberra, Dec 22 (IANS) The local fire department in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) said on Thursday that it is exhausting all efforts to protect communities from the most significant grass fire risk in more than a decade.

According to a statement by Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), two years of above-average rainfall has increased fuel loads, meaning that any grass fire which breaks out over coming weeks has the potential to be larger and more intense than normal, reports Xinhua news agency.

The FRNSW warned that this is particularly the case in the state’s west, which bears the brunt of the most recent floods.

“It could only take a few days or weeks of hot and dry weather to ignite current heavy fuel loads and create a fire emergency in our own backyards,” said FRNSW Bushfire and Aviation Unit Commander Scott Donohoe, urging homeowners and landholders to follow firefighters’ lead and take precautions.

Meanwhile, farmers are also encouraged to establish firebreaks around paddocks, homes, sheds and equipment to slow a fire’s spread.