SEVERE FIRE DANGER: Total fire ban declared
UPDATE 9.20am: DUE to hot gusty conditions, a Total Fire Ban has been issued for the Far North Coast.
In response, all State forests have been closed between Sydney and Queensland border.
The forests, from the north of Sydney to the Queensland border and the northern tablelands, will be closed to the public on Thursday 7, Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November due to the very high to extreme fire danger over the coming days.
The closure applies to all State forests in the following Rural Fire Service zones:
• Greater Sydney Region
• Far North Coast
• North Coast
• Greater Hunter
• New England
• Northern Slopes.
The only exceptions are Cumberland State Forest, Treetops Adventure Park at Ourimbah State Forest and Sealy Lookout at Orara East State Forest.
Forestry Corporation of NSW's Senior Manager Forest Stewardship Kathy Lyons asked the community to stay out of these State forests due to the very high risk to public safety.
"We are expecting very high to severe and extreme fire weather over the next three days and there are already extensive fires across the north coast and tablelands. Fires are likely to be uncontrollable in these conditions," Ms Lyons said.
"All State forests from the north of Sydney to the Queensland border and the northern tablelands will be closed for the next three days due to the high fire danger.
"This closure will affect popular camp grounds and picnic areas throughout the region including Olney, Heaton and Strickland State forests, Swans Crossing near Kendall, Coopernook Headquarters and recreation areas along the Allyn River and Telegherry River in the Chichester State forest.
"Please do not enter these forests over the next three days."
For the latest information about fires, visit the Rural Fire Service website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
Original story: WITH hot and gusty conditions descending on the Northern Rivers on Thursday and parts of the region under severe fire danger, a total fire ban has been declared for the Far North Coast.
There will be total fire bans in place for the Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, and Tweed council areas.
A NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman said the Tenterfield region has a 'severe fire danger rating' for Thursday, while the Northern Rivers and Tweed regions are deemed as 'very high fire danger'.
"Forecasts are showing dry, windy and hot conditions, with temperatures around the mid to high 30s," he said.
He said under severe and very high fire conditions well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety during a fire, and residents in affected council areas should remain vigilant and follow their Bush Fire Survival Plans.
So what do the warnings mean, and what are your obligations?
Fire danger ratings give you an indication of the consequences of a fire, if one was to start.
The higher the fire danger, the more dangerous the conditions. You should use the fire danger ratings as a trigger to take action.
Bush fires are more likely to spread and cause damage on days when the weather is very hot, dry and windy. These are usually on very high to extreme fire days.
What the fire ratings mean
In a total fire ban no fire may be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended. This includes incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel such wood, charcoal or heat beads. No general purpose welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting can be done in the open.
Fire permits are cancelled during a total fire ban, and lighting a fire on a day of total fire ban attracts an on the spot fine of $2200.
If the matter goes to court, you could be subject to a fine of up to $5500 and/or 12 months jail, while civil law suits can also be brought against the person responsible for a fire by those seeking compensation for losses sustained.
What you should never do:
- Never light a campfire
- Never light a fire in the open (not for cooking, nor recreational purposes)
- Portable gas/electric barbecues are banned in NSW State Forests, National Parks or Regional Parks on Total Fire Ban days. (NOTE: In some cases you may be able to use gas or electric barbecues constructed by the NSW National Park or State Forest in specified picnic areas)
- Don't carry out welding, grinding, soldering, or gas cutting works in the open, or anything likely to cause sparks
- No burning off of any kind in the open (includes burning grass, weeds, leaves, rubbish).
When caution must be used:
- using incinerators (may be banned in some areas), strict conditions apply
- using a harvester - so long as; any heated area does not come into contact with combustible matter: machinery is in good and serviceable condition; machinery is fitted with a spark arrester; and the machinery has fire safety equipment on board. Insurance companies may impose their own restrictions
You can light a gas or electric barbecue on your own property, so long as it is under the direct control of a responsible adult; has 2m clearance around the barbecue of anything which can burn.
Gas barbecues must be on a residential property within 20m of a house or dwelling, with immediate access to a continuous supply of water.