Dry has firefighters on alert



FIREFIGHTERS could be in for a bad winter in the Tweed, despite the end of the bushfire danger period around NSW yesterday.

Dangerous fire conditions lessened enough around the NSW to remove the requirement of a permit to burn off.

But Tweed Rural Fire Service superintendent Dave Cook said in the Tweed conditions could turn bad again if there was no rain for a week.

"Recently conditions looked bad again but the smattering of rain we had did ease it," he said.

"We have still got to be alert, it would only take a week for it to go back to dry." Supt Cook said early indicators showed the usually quiet winter period could be hard work for firefighters in the Tweed.

"The southern oscillation index is low at the moment, which shows it could get bad," he said.

"The bushfire danger period on the North Coast usually starts earlier than most places and it is usually wet at this time of the year."

Information supplied to The Daily News by Tweed weather watcher Wal Smith suggested that this had been the driest three month period in 73 years.

Winter is the period firefighters concentrate their hazard reduction burns in and perform most of their training.

Supt Cook said they would begin planning their strategic burnoffs in preparation for summer.

He said locals should also be- gin preparing for summer.

"It is the ideal time for people to clean-up their homes and empty their gutters," he said.

"But even though there is no permit required right now, if they are going to burn off they might need council permission and should alert their neighbours 24 hours ahead."



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