The Rural Fire Service (RFS) is urging landholders and property managers in the Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon Local Government Areas to exercise caution and adhere to rules when conducting burns on their properties.
Since August 1, firefighters across the state have attended more than 600 fires caused by escaped burns.
Operational Officer Scott Hoy said while landholders are encouraged to proactively reduce fuel loads on their property, the primary concern should always be safety.
“Every landholder has a responsibility to prevent fire from spreading from their property, and there can be serious consequences for people who light fires and leave them unattended Operational Officer Scott Hoy 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 and even more on days of Total Fire Ban.
“History has shown that problems occur when people do not adequately supervise fires, and an escaped hazard reduction can be very difficult for firefighters to contain.”
“You may have been using fire on your property for years, but it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re using fire safely.
“Fire permits are needed during the Bush Fire Danger Period, which starts in the Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon Local Government Area on October 1. They’re free and easy to get from your local Fire Control Centre or FRNSW fire station.
“If you’re burning, check conditions and don’t light up unless it’s safe. Operational Officer Scott Hoy said heavy fines apply for the unsafe use of fire or if your fire escapes your property.
“Residents must take current conditions and weather forecasts into consideration before starting aburn,” Operational Officer Scott Hoy said.
“There are also alternatives to burning, including hand clearing, mowing, or slashing areas around key assets on the property.”
You must notify your neighbours and local fire authority 24 hours before lighting up. You can notify the RFS at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/BFDP/burn-notifications.
RFS members can provide advice about fire permits, hazard reduction certificates, environmental approvals, weather forecasts and how best to prepare and conduct a burn.
You can also find more information on the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/safeburning.