PERMITS SUSPENDED: The NSW Rural Fire Service has suspended fire permits from 5pm on Thursday September 7 across the Byron, Tweed and Ballina shires.
PERMITS SUSPENDED: The NSW Rural Fire Service has suspended fire permits from 5pm on Thursday September 7 across the Byron, Tweed and Ballina shires. Zoe Willcocks / Zoe Jean Photogr

Fire permits suspended due to high danger conditions

VERY dry and dangerous conditions across the Northern Rivers has seen the Rural Fire Service ban all fire permits from 5pm today.

On Thursday morning RFS Superintendent David Cook confirmed until further notice, across the Far North Coast (Ballina, Byron and Tweed Shires), there is a prohibition on the lighting of general hazard reduction burns, during this period.

"There are exemptions, such as for agricultural and primary production, which include diseased crops," he said.

"These exemptions will be considered on a case by case basis and people must contact us at Far North Coast Fire Control Centre on 02 6671 5500, during business hours Monday to Friday, to see if they will be placed in this category."

Supt Cook said hefty fines are in place and the police are involved if anyone chooses to burn off during the permit suspension period.

"A failure to notify us of a burn-off fire is $1100 and failure to have a permit is also $1100 and the fines increase significantly," he said.

Sup Cook said permits were not suspended unless conditions warranted such a move.

"The deficiency in ground fuel moisture content is extremely dry," he said.

"So we are trying to reduce the number of ignitions and escapes."

Current fires

Main Arm Fire - Supt Cook said the Main Arm Fire is still burning in steep inaccessible country.

He said there are currently 13 personnel, three RFS tankers and one National Parks tanker on site.

"The crews are preparing containment using hand tools," he said.

"It is hard dirty work and we are mindful of fatigue as it is occasionally flaring up into fingers coming down to the grasslands and our crews are ready for immediate action. We are in discussion about deploying remote area fire-fighters who are dispatched by helicopter."

Supt Cook said crews are drafting water from local creeks and dams.

Wardell Fire - Supt Cook said the Wardell Fire has been contained after crews worked throughout the night.

"Currently they are patrolling the fire and assessing any possible weak sorts," he said.

"We have two tankers and eight personnel at this fire."

Other fires - A shed fire in the Tweed area of Chillingham had a crew on scene and assessing the situation as this story went to print.



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