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New growth a bush fire hazard

RFS Superintendent Cook says residents are lighting fires to burn off vegetation without putting in place adequate safety measures.
RFS Superintendent Cook says residents are lighting fires to burn off vegetation without putting in place adequate safety measures. Brenda Strong

THE Tweed and surrounding areas face an increased fire risk due to the emergence of a large amount of new plant growth.

Recent rains have stimulated growth and frosts combined with dry north-westerly winds have turned the new plants and grasses into dried tinder ready to ignite.

Rural Fire Service Superintendent David Cook said complacency was one of the biggest issues faced when dealing with fire safety and control.

Superintendent Cook said people were still lighting fires to burn off vegetation without first putting in place adequate safety measures.

As of September 1, all residents wishing to light a fire will need a licence to do so.

They will need to contact the captain of their local rural fire brigade, who will inspect the proposed site and advise people of the safest way to control a burn off.

Once the captain is satisfied the fire can be controlled and handled safely, he or she will issue a fire permit.

Residents intending to light a fire also have a statutory obligation to inform all their neighbours of the imminent burn off.

Superintendent Cook said unfortunately some people failed to inform their neighbours who then called the fire brigade to report a fire and caused the brigade members to attend imaginary wild fires.

Superintendent Cook said a negative southern oscillation index indicated the emergence of a drying trend in the long term weather forecast and could be a factor in promoting dryer than average conditions.

The brigade completed a 67ha back-burn operation in the Byrrill Creek area yesterday aimed at reducing fuel around strategic assets such as local infrastructure and housing and would continue to be pro-active in its approach.

Superintendent Cook said "it may look green out there but it's very dry underneath".

Anyone who wants more information on fire safety measures and control can contact the rural fire brigade's Community Safety Unit on (02) 6672 7888 or visit NSW Rural Fire Service's website at http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/.

Topics:  blaze, bushfire, controlled burn, emergency services, grass fire, rural fire service, weather


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