Early arrival - Bushfire season has been declared two months early

It’s safe to say many Aussies are continuing to shiver through what feels like the coldest winter yet.

But only just last week it was confirmed that bushfire season had already begun in both Queensland and NSW, with bushfires hitting NSW two months earlier than expected due to record low July rainfall.

“It is a worrying sign, especially given we have received only half of the average rainfall during winter and no meaningful rain is forecast in the next few months,” said NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner, Rob Rogers.

At the moment, the bushfire danger period is already underway in Armidale, Regional Clarence Valley, Glen Innes, Severn, Inverell, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha.

RELATED: How to keep your home fire safe and avoid an insurance claim this winter

And while preventative measures usually begin on October 1, landowners and managers have now been asked to obtain permits before lighting fires, including preventative burning.

“This year’s season is particularly concerning, given some parts of the state are already very dry and experiencing significant bushfire activity,” said Fire and Emergency Services Minister, Craig Crawford.

With this year’s season already becoming a cause for concern, there is also likely to be increased strain on home and contents insurers due to a higher volume of claims.

RELATED: Home insurance 101: What happens if your home is underinsured?

And with bushfire season rapidly approaching, Aussies living in rural areas will need to have a plan in place should their properties be damaged.

Although a stressful and overwhelming time, you’ll need to stick to the following steps in order to get your claim sorted out as fast as possible:

  • Contact your insurer ASAP, whether it be through a mobile app, online or their 24/7 phone line.
  • If your home insurance documents have been damaged, don’t panic, your insurer will only need the name of the policyholder and your property’s address.
  • Do not attempt to repair any of the damage, unless for safety reasons.
  • Take note of any damaged possessions.
  • Take photos of any damage to your property or belongings as evidence.

Want to know if your home and contents insurance policy is up to scratch? Find out using our home and contents insurance comparison tool.