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    Why Are These Firefighters Lighting Fires?

    When do firefighters light fires? When they're back-burning, of course.

    These guys are volunteer firefighters from the Rural Fire Service in NSW, Australia

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    They're setting fires in the Blue Mountains

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    Wait? Setting Fires?

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    Yep. It's called 'back-burning'

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    The idea is to reduce the amount of flammable material available ahead of the main fire front

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    It's called 'back-burning' because the controlled fires are directed back towards the bushfire

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    They use 'drip torches' to start the fires, then let them burn out or extinguish them before they get out of control

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    Back-burning is different to a 'controlled burn', which is done in cooler months to reduce fuel build-up

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    This crew is working around Faulconbridge, but other crews worked through the night in the Southern Highlands and the Hawkesbury

    John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

    Key bushfire links

    Rural Fire Service: rfs.nsw.gov.au

    ABC Emergency: abc.net.au/emergency

    Bureau of Meteorology: bom.gov.au

    Dept of Human Services: humanservices.gov.au/disaster