GOING UP IN SMOKE
Firefighters warn after major burnoff
THIRTY firefighters tackled a hazard reduction burn in bushland yesterday as the region continues to experience extremely dry and warm conditions.
Fire and Rescue NSW and the Rural Fire Service have warned Northern Rivers residents the fire season is not over yet, with conditions creating recent fires at Sydney and Tathra.
Fire and Rescue NSW duty commander Inspector Gary White was at yesterday’s burn on Paterson Hill, 1.5km from the centre of Byron Bay.
“We had three Fire and Rescue NSW trucks from Byron and Brunswick Heads, two Rural Fire Service trucks from Lennox and Byron Bay, two from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and a crew from Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting at Ballina Airport assisting,” Insp White said.
“It was a great display of multi-agency cooperation at the 0.4ha hazard reduction burn to lower fuel loads.
“Although we are getting towards the end of the fire season, as we saw in Sydney recently it’s not over yet.”
Rural Fire Service Northern Rivers zone manager Superintendent Michael Brett said his people “have been smacked with people burning off and not informing their neighbours or the local fire control”.
“It’s all the dry weather we have had up here in the past few weeks – mid-30 degree temperatures for the last week at least and fairly strong winds,” he said.
“People are allowed to burn – permit time is over – but if you plan to burn you need to notify your neighbours and the fire control, otherwise this creates concern and angst.”
Supt Brett said RFS members in Lismore and Casino were busy over the weekend when several burnoffs got out of control.
“We are seeing summer conditions and there’s a great deal of growth and that’s drying off now,” he said. “There’s an element of concern amongst my people.”
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse said residents could expect warm conditions to continue into May and even June.
SAFETY FIRST: Fire and Rescue NSW conduct a controlled burnoff at Paterson Hill at Byron Bay.