Fire crews warn of long and volatile season ahead

BATTLING ON: RFS members Jenny Lewis, Kylie Chalker, Steve Gardiner, Ton van der Linden, Jeanette Brinkhuis and Ray Morris were some of the many volunteers fighting bushfires over the weekend.
BATTLING ON: RFS members Jenny Lewis, Kylie Chalker, Steve Gardiner, Ton van der Linden, Jeanette Brinkhuis and Ray Morris were some of the many volunteers fighting bushfires over the weekend. Adam Hourigan

FIRE crews have made a significant dent in the number of blazes burning in the Clarence Valley, as investigations into their cause continue. With the number of fires reduced to 14, volunteers have been able to focus on ensuring that fires remain contained and behind identified containment lines.

A week ago the fire service was faced with 30 individual outbreaks, which burnt close to 10,000 hectares of bushland.

NSW RFS Clarence Valley district manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said a number of out-of-area crews had arrived in the past few days to provide local volunteers a rest.

"As it winds down, local resources will be put back on, but they have jobs and families," he said. "On the field we still have over 150 volunteer firefighters, with support from National Parks and State Forests."

Investigations into the cause of the fires are ongoing.

"My concern is we shouldn't be having this much fire activity so early," Supt Watts said.

"It clearly demonstrates we're in a very dry period.

"There's still an abundance of fuel in a very dry state.

"It doesn't take much fire weather for these materials to burn, so we remind people that permits are suspended."

Moving forward, Supt Watts said last week's fire activity highlighted the need for families to re-assess their own bushfire survival plans and hazard reduction strategies to make communities, properties and families safer.

Plans should be top of mind 24/7, Supt Watts said.

Topics:  bushfires, editors picks, rfs

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