FIRE CHIEF CAUTIOUS
By CRAIG McTEAR
WARWICK Roche says extreme caution is the key to reduce the bushfire risk on the Coffs Coast.
The Mid North Coast Rural Fire Service (RFS) chief said recent rain had helped to ease the bushfire threat here, but western areas were still extremely dry.
"Even though we've had rain and things look green, there is no ground moisture," Mr Roche said.
"With the winds and the high temperatures, the fuel is drying out very quickly."
He said firefighters had been dealing with what he termed nuisance fires which had been burning intensely.
Crews battled a small fire on Nashs Road at Woolgoolga yesterday, while a blaze on Christmas Bells Road near the Coffs Harbour Airport at the weekend appeared to have been deliberately lit.
"Looking at the way that fire burnt, even after the rain we've had, it took five or six hours to control," Mr Roche said.
A blaze on East Bank Road at Coramba, near the railway line, on Wednesday, tied up personnel for a couple of hours.
"The Nambucca area isn't too bad, but as you go further south into the Kempsey district, it's getting dry," Mr Roche said.
"The northern coastal areas have had more rain than a lot of other places, but the intensity of fires when they've started has taken us a bit to control.
"People have to be very, very careful."
The local RFS stands ready to send crews if they're needed to battle fires raging in other parts of the State.
"We've been asked to identify vehicles and crews in case they're required, and those plans are now in place," Mr Roche said.