Valley residents to remain vigilant this fire season
NOW is not the time to be complacent about the danger posed by bushfires.
That is the message from NSW Rural Fire Service Clarence Valley district manager Superintendent Stuart Watts, who says looks can be deceiving when it comes to bushfires.
"Even though we have been experiencing some storms and heavy rains and conditions look reasonably green, things can change very quickly and lead to very bad bushfire conditions in a matter of weeks," he said.
"It's a matter of being aware.
"It's always timely to be bushfire aware and vigilant about the danger."
Supt Watts says it's important that residents remember to plan ahead of time about what to do if they are threatened by fire.
"Now is the time to talk to the family about a fire safety plan," he said.
"There is a new edition of the bushfire survival plan on the RFS website, so it's timely to visit the site and go through the simple steps involved."
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre's seasonal bushfire outlook rates the potential for bushfire in the Far North Coast of NSW as above normal.
The report cites below-average, long-term rainfall - as well as an outlook for a dry summer - as reasons why the potential for bushfire is elevated.
Supt Watts said there were a lot of fire dangers this time of year, and it paid to be safe.
"Be ready and be prepared, that's the message we want to get across," he said.
Conditions in the Clarence Valley are good for the moment, but Supt Watts said that could change very quickly.
"There's a bit of ground moisture after these storms and heavy rain," he said.
"But we are heading into summer, and there will be days of hot weather that will come through and dry the moisture out and dry out the forest fuel and create some dangerous conditions."
No fires are to be lit without a permit, and currently permits are suspended.