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This paper reviews the history of fire and bushfire in Australia, including the debate on bushfire hazard reduction burning. It outlines the provisions of the Rural Fire Service Act 1997, and provides a comprehensive summary of the fires which occurred in NSW during the 2001-2002 fire season. It is self evident that bushfires occur during periods of hot weather. 'Bushfire weather' in NSW tends to occur when a deep low pressure system is located south of Tasmania, which results in hot, dry, desert westerly winds blowing over the State.

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