A controlled burn off in Walcha escaped recently - just prior to the start of the fire permit season which began on August 1.
“We were called to the Chinnock’s Road Fire at around 1pm on July 26,” said Renee Dell Rural Fire Service (RFS) New England district officer.
“A landowner was carrying out hazard reduction work which escaped and was burning out of control.”
“We had three fire trucks attend to extinguish this fire, working in conjunction with a dozer putting in containment lines.The fire required RFS Volunteer crew to blackout the active fire edge and patrol the area for a number of days.”
Ms Dell said this was one of a number of escaped landowner burns that have occurred in the New England area over the last month.
“The RFS is urging landowner’s to carefully consider the weather conditions on the day of the proposed burn, and for three to four days after ignition,” she said. In these extremely dry conditions landowners need to make sure they have strong containment lines in place, a good source of water and fire-fighting equipment on-hand.”
Ms Dell reminded land managers and land holders that they will need to obtain a free Fire Permit before lighting up now the Bush Fire Danger Period had commenced in the Walcha ,Armidale Regional, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield and Uralla Local Government Areas.
NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said heavy fines apply for the unsafe use of fire or if a fire escapes - landholders who fail to notify firefighters and neighbours face fines of up to $5,500 and/or 12 months jail while escaped fires attract penalties of up to $110,000 and/or five years prison.
“Don’t be the fire risk to your community, know your obligations if conducting burns, but most importantly, if a fire does get out of hand, make sure you report it immediately to Triple Zero (000),” Mr Rogers said.