THE countdown to spring also has our firefighters gearing up for the bushfire season.
The Mid North Coast Bush Fire management committee has declared September 1 as the official starting date for the Bush Fire Danger Period.
From that date, anyone wanting to light a fire in the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen council areas will need a permit, but during a total fire ban no fires can be lit even if you hold a permit.
“Commencement of the Bush Fire Danger Period does not prohibit landholders from burning,” said Inspector Ron Collingridge from the Rural Fire Service.
“In fact, we continue to encourage properly prepared and managed hazard reductions.
“It does mean, however, that permits will be required for lighting fires. Fire permits are free and can be obtained from your local fire station or your local rural fire brigade.”
Mr Collingridge said as the weather warmed up, residents needed to be careful when using fire.
“While we have had some rain, fires have been escaping and causing damage,” he said. “It is an offence to allow a fire to escape from your property and it is your responsibility to ensure that fires are not left unattended.
“We strongly advise residents to contact their local brigade and seek their advice in carrying out safe and successful hazard reductions.
“If the fire does escape, it is essential that the landowner call 000 immediately so that emergency services can respond accordingly and minimise the damage.”
For more details, contact the RFS on 6651 6133 or visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.