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.

Photo: Marc Stapel­berg

SAFETY FIRST: Fire and Res­cue NSW con­duct a con­trolled burnoff at Pater­son Hill at By­ron Bay.

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