Firemen remain vigilant
COFFS Coast fire crews are still on high alert for bushfires despite the recent deluge.
Inspector Ron Collingridge from the Rural Fire Service said firefighters weren’t able to predict if we were in for a bad summer but complacency was not an option.
“We really don’t know what it will be like. We’ve had a lot of rain and things are fairly moist at this stage and things have been very quiet,” Mr Collingridge said.
“We haven’t been able to do a lot of hazard reductions because things have been too wet but that doesn’t mean we’ve finished our program for the year.
“Normally we’d be done by now and as soon as it dries out we’ll start again.
“The forecast is for a fairly wet summer heading into early next year but you never know – if we start to get some warm northwest winds they could dry the grass country out but it will take longer for the forested areas to dry out.”
Mr Collingridge said a few dry days and hot winds could quite easily turn conditions on their head but he welcomed the fact NSW was out of drought.
“We have had a lot of rain here and the bush is quite wet which is a good thing.
“We would like to remind people that even though it’s been wet, they still need a permit to burn off during the Bushfire Danger Period.
“They still have to be careful – it might be nice and wet out there but you have to keep an eye out especially if we do get windy weather.”
Mr Collingridge said landholders were required to give their neighbours 24 hours’ notice before burning off and the RFS needed to know an hour ahead of any burn.
The NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, said only a week or so of dry and windy weather was all that was needed for conditions to change dramatically.