THE NSW Rural Fire Service is urging people to be prepared for a very high risk of bushfires on the first day of summer.
Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 30s and low 40s in western NSW, western Sydney and the lower Blue Mountains at the weekend.
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons today said the service's volunteers stood ready to fight fires but needed the community to stand with them by being prepared.
"We expect much of the state to have very high fire danger ratings or greater for the first day of summer," he said.
"The forecast weather is a timely reminder that summer is here and people should ensure both their family and their property are prepared."
Mr Fitzsimmons said that already this year firefighters had battled more than 3800 bush and grass fires and people in bushfire-prone areas should ensure their bushfire survival plans were in place.
"That small investment could save your life, or the life of your partner, child, or beloved family pet," he said.
"This summer, complacency could kill, but preparation could save lives."
Bushfire survival plans can be downloaded from the RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.
Important advice on how to 'Beat the Heat' can also be found at www.health.nsw.gov.au.
The top four tips are to drink plenty of water, keep cool, take care of others and have a plan.
NSW Health says a heatwave in Sydney in 2011 was responsible for the deaths of 96 people and has urged people to keep an eye out for vulnerable members of the community over the next few days.
NSW Police have been warning motorists about the dangers of leaving children, the elderly or pets unattended in cars during very hot weather.