Fire tower upgrades to lessen risk

UPGRADES have begun to more than 30 fire towers along the Mid North Coast to protect communities against wildfires during the bushfire danger period.

Forestry Corporation NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service have invested $1million to refurbish the towers through the RFS Bush Fire Risk Mitigation and Resilience Grants Program.

Chief forester Ross Dickson said the upgrades would improve tower operation.

"Upgraded lightning protection to the fire towers, refurbished cabins and improved access to the platforms has enhanced the safety of fire tower operators," Mr Dickson said.

Since July 2014, Forestry NSW has upgraded fire towers from as far north as Yabbra State Forest, near Queensland, to Timbillica State Forest, south NSW, and west to Baradine State Forest.

Forestry Corporation's Wauchope-based protection manager Karel Zejbrlik said the tower improvement would enable the team to identify early warning signs of bushfires faster, especially during bushfire season, typically October to March.

Mr Zejbrlik said the upgrades would allow the towers to operate for at least another 15 years.

Forestry Corporation manages more than two million hectares of forests and has helped fight fires in NSW for almost 100 years.

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