HEAT WAVE: Severe fire danger warning issued by RFS
UPDATE, 4.45pm: A SEVERE fire danger warning has been issued for the Northern Rivers for tomorrow as the region braces itself for a blistering-hot Saturday.
Northern Rivers Rural Fire Service zone manager, Daniel Ainsworth said the forecast conditions have resulted in the warning being elevated to a higher alert.
He said an official fire warning has also been released by the Bureau of Meteorology.
A total fire ban is in place from tonight for 24 hours.
UPDATE, 3.40pm: PREDICTED scorching temperatures across the Far North Coast over the next two days have prompted surf lifesavers to issue a warning to beachgoers ahead of what is expected to be another busy weekend.
The mercury across the popular tourism areas of Yamba, Evans Head, Ballina, Byron, Brunswick, and the Tweed Coast is set to rise rapidly with temperatures in the mid-30s expected on Saturday.
Lifesavers are preparing for an influx of crowds and with small swell anticipated conditions are expected to be almost perfect for those looking to beat the heat.
It has been a successful start to the 2016/17 for Far North Coast lifesavers but following on from a season where 53 people drowned in NSW coastal waters the issue of keeping people safe while in the water is an issue of crucial importance to the lifesaving community.
Far North Coast Emergency Services Coordinator Jimmy Keogh said it was important all beachgoers keep a close eye on their health this weekend.
"It's probably the first genuinely hot day we've had since last summer and the beach is certainly an appealing place to be to cool-off," Mr Keogh said.
"The threat of heat exhaustion or other more severe heat related illnesses is very real and we strongly urge people to take precautions for their health.
"Where possible stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, apply sun cream liberally and regularly, make sure you are consuming enough water, and wear a hat and sun glasses to protect your skin.
"If you are feeling unwell please inform a lifesaver or seek medical attention as we want everyone to be able to enjoy their time at the beach safely."
UPDATE, 12.15pm: SCORCHING summer weather will hit the Northern Rivers tomorrow, with at least six days of temperatures above 30 degrees.
Casino will certainly feel the brunt of the heat.
The beef capital will reach about 36 degrees tomorrow, followed by 32 on Sunday and 34 on Monday. The temperature will again spike at a whopping 38 degrees on Tuesday.
Lismore can also expect hot weather - it will be 36 degrees in town tomorrow.
That will be followed by temperatures well in the 30s every day until at least Thursday next week, with only the slight chance of a shower to bring relief.
Don't expect to head to be able to head over to the coast for a cool change.
In Ballina, the mercury will hit 37 tomorrow.
It will cool off a little on Sunday, with a top of 27 degrees, but it will quickly warm up again early next week.
Weatherzone says it will be the hottest weather for the region in at least the past eight or nine months.
"Northwesterly winds ahead of an approaching cold front will draw heat from central Australia and drive it across the east coast," they explain on their website.
ORIGINAL STORY: THE Rural Fire Service are on a high alert ahead of scorching temperatures expected for Saturday across the Northern Rivers.
A Rapid Aerial Response Team will be initiated from 10am this morning along with a total fire ban and fire permit suspension for 24 hours from Saturday.
Northern Rivers RFS zone manager, Daniel Ainsworth said the response team is trained for major fires and is comprised of specialist volunteers allocated to a helicopter.
The RART crew will be on stand-by at Casino Airport monitoring a 150km radius from Grafton in the south to the Queensland boarder.
Mr Ainsworth said lightning storms, temperatures in the mid to late 30s and gusty winds forecast for Saturday have elevated the fire danger warning close to severe.
"Saturday's weather in particular its hit a lot of our triggers for activating a higher level of alert," Mr Ainsowrth said.
"Although we've had storms in the area some people have got some rain, other areas have missed out.
"In the country areas it's still very dry and any new fires will take off very quick in these weather conditions."
RART can be in the air and on their way to a major fire within 10 minutes of the triple zero call being made.
The crew will be on stand-by until Saturday afternoon.
An extension of their services may be required weather pending.