Il­le­gal fires

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

BACK­YARD fires in res­i­den­tial ar­eas are il­le­gal and peo­ple can be fined for light­ing them.

Queens­land Fire and Res­cue branches in Port Dou­glas and Moss­man have been in­un­dated re­cently with back­yard fire com­plaints from around the re­gion, more re­cently in Wonga Beach.

Act­ing sta­tion of­fi­cer of Port Dou­glas, Rus­sell Clarke, said res­i­dents in more re­mote res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties are not aware they are not a ru­ral zone.

‘‘If you look at your rates no­tice and if it says you are in a res­i­den­tial area you can­not light a fire,’’ he said.

‘‘The only ex­cep­tion is you are al­lowed to have a cook­ing fire, have a hungi or make coals for the pur­pose of cook­ing, but you can’t smoke out your neigh­bours.

‘‘If you are ru­ral you don’t need a per­mit to light a fire un­der 2m in any di­rec­tion, but there are still con­di­tions and it’s ad­vised you con­tact your lo­cal fire war­den.’’

Light­ing an il­le­gal fire can at­tract fines start­ing from $250 and go­ing up and the per­son who lit the fire can be li­able for dam­ages. ‘‘The risk is, if the fire gets away and starts an out-of-con­trol fire, that per­son can be li­able for any dam­age or loss of life in­volved from their first light­ing of the fire,’’ Mr Clarke said.

‘‘And peo­ple in a res­i­den­tial area need to con­sider their neigh­bours who might be asth­mat­ics or have a low tol­er­ance to smoke.

‘‘The days of the old back­yard fire in res­i­den­tial back­yards are gone, even if you have a fire pit or some­thing made to con­tain the fire, it’s still classed as a fire and they will be asked to ex­tin­guish the fire, or it be­comes a breach of the law.’’

For in­for­ma­tion go to www.ru­ral­fire.qld.gov.au or con­tact your lo­cal fire war­den.

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