Bushfires followed by heavy rainfall have created new hazards in Australian bush land

Keep clear of dangerous, fire-affected areas

Bushfires followed by heavy rainfall have created new hazards in Australian bush land.

The Wollondilly Fire Control Centre has warned that falling trees and landslides have become a high risk in bush land impacted by recent fires.

Media liaison officer for Wollondilly Fire Control Centre, Elizabeth Ellis doesn't want people going into dangerous areas., as they wouldn't send their own experienced firefighters in there.

"This is a risk that you run," Ms Ellis said.

"We know people are doing sensible things like dropping off food and water on the sides of the roads without going too far into the areas, but we don't even encourage our firefighters to go deep into burnt out areas.

"The risk of trees falling is far too great.

"Next to heart attacks, it's trees falling that is the next most dangerous thing for firefighters. Especially in this period of time."

It's not just the danger of a weakened, fire-affected tree falling, there are other hazards at hand.

"It is very dangerous, but there are other dangerous factors in forested areas affected by the fires," Ms Ellis said.

"Holes in the ground can be filled with ash and it makes footing very dangerous.

"The ash fills the holes completely up and gives the risk of trips and falls. There are numerous risks going into burnt out areas.

"The protection of life is the most important thing for us. These are the two big factors in forest areas."

Areas facing structural damage from the fires can be just as dangerous, but not just for the obvious potential of unsafe structural integrity.

"Sections with structure have another danger in asbestos," Ms Ellis said.

"Given most houses in the rural areas were built before 1985, most will have some sort of asbestos.

"That needs to made safe before anyone returns. There are make safe teams working on this at the moment."

With the heavy rainfall that has been welcomed to help put out fires, there are now other risks to consider.

"The recent rains have softened the ground," Ms Ellis said.

"Trees are more likely to fall now. It's a combination of rain falling, softening the ground and then strong winds.

"This Thursday (January 23) there are very strong winds forecast. This combination could be deadly.

"Please be safe."