Don’t get too fire-happy, warns fire service

Bob Harbourd, deputy captain of Coutts Crossing Rural Fire Service, surveys a fire on Armidale Rd.
Bob Harbourd, deputy captain of Coutts Crossing Rural Fire Service, surveys a fire on Armidale Rd. Lachlan Thompson

LAND owners are being warned to control their burn-offs or they'll force the Rural Fire Service into declaring an early bushfire danger period.

This means people can still burn off, but there are restrictions on what they can burn and when they can burn.

It's something Superintendent Stuart Watts, district manager for New South Wales RFS, Clarence Valley, doesn't want to do.

He spoke to The Daily Examiner yesterday as crews were controlling fires across the Valley.

He said landholders who let their blazes run out of control would also face consequences. At least two people responsible for the weekend fires were reported to police for further investigation and possible action.

"It's landholders responsibility to ensure the fire doesn't leave their property which seems to be the case in some of the fires we've had so far," Supt Watts said.

"It's an ideal time to burn off, but if there are a number of unexplained fires that start to escape the control of land owners, the RFS will be forced into declaring an early bushfire danger period."

Supt Watts said property owners needed to ensure they notified neighbours and control officer if they were burning off and adequate containment lines were essential.

"The Clarence Valley has gone through a good three years of wet period and grass growth is fairly high and there's not been a chance to burn," Supt Watts said.

"Everyone seems to want to do it at the same time, which is a bit of a nuisance.

"There's a fair bit of fuel that needs to be managed, but landholders can't let fire escape their control."

Fires blazed at the Summerland Way between Pringles Rd, Lawrence, the Old Glen Innes Rd and also near Franklin's Rd, Glenugie with some of the largest taking out about 100 hectares.

RFS crews have been out in force over the past week responding to fires.

"It's a timely reminder for people to take care," Supt Watts said.

"The RFS will be reviewing the situation week by week and will take the appropriate action should conditions start to dry out too much."



For information on fires or how to conduct burn-offs safely visit the RFS website

Topics:  fire season rural fire service

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