With truly testing conditions predicted to set in across NSW in the coming days, authorities are taking no chances.
A statewide Total Fire Ban will remain in place from midnight Tuesday, December 17 to midnight Saturday, December 21.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts severe to extreme heatwave conditions, with day time temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees above average for this time of the year.
A top of 41 degrees is predicted for Gunnedah on Thursday, rising to 44 degrees on Saturday, and dropping back slightly to 38 degrees on Monday.
What to do:
- Stay indoors if you can
- Watch out to elderly neighbours
- Don't leave children or pets in hot cars
- Stay hydrated
Doctors are warning anyone with pre-existing health conditions to take extra care.
What to look out for:
- Thirst, dizziness, feeling nauseous, vomiting, general signs of illness and distress
Deputy Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said we need to watch out for each other.
"Whilst we do see cases of heat stroke and heat exhaustion on these really hot days, we see increased risks of all kinds of conditions. Heat places a great deal of strain on the body and so if you are somebody who has, for example, diabetes or a heart condition it can make those conditions worse," he said.
"This is an unprecedented emergency from a smoke point of view...and it is really important people are aware of the risks from smoke. Now for most people the risks are that you might experience mild like sore eyes, throat, a bit of a cough, but people with existing heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive because the smoke can make those things worse."
The smoke lingering across NSW has been declared a public health emergency in a joint statement signed by 22 health and medical organisations.
In it doctors, nurses and medical scientists have called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to put health at the forefront of climate action.