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"Zero tolerance" of fires without permit after 200ha burned

HAZARD REDUCTION: Tucabia deputy fire captain Keith Connors makes a fire break at Lanitza on Sunday.
HAZARD REDUCTION: Tucabia deputy fire captain Keith Connors makes a fire break at Lanitza on Sunday. Debrah Novak

RURAL Fire Service will be taking a "zero tolerance" approach to fires lit without a permit following a busy start to the bushfire season.

Three RFS crews attended a fire in Naughtons Gap spanning more than 200ha on Saturday.

RFS Northern Rivers zone manager Michael Brett said the fire was started last Wednesday when a landowner advised he was going to burn before the start of permit season and the fire got out of containment lines.

It now involves several properties.

"We're going to keep monitoring it," Supt Brett said.

"As it starts to trickle down out of the timber country and looks at coming into contact with open country we'll look at putting brigades in there and they'll back burn it and ensure we keep some sort of control over it.

"The risk is it will run over, out of the forest, into grazing country and burn out the new grazing feed for their cattle, so we're just working to keep it where it needs to be."

The NSW bushfire danger period started on Friday due to dry conditions.

Penalties for lighting a fire without a permit have also increased from $550 to $1100.

Supt Brett said the message to anyone wishing to burn anything in the open was to get a permit.

"Obviously without a permit they're in breach of the bushfire danger period," he said.

"In light of the amount of fires that have impacted the North Coast in this last week, and more so Friday and Thursday, the service is taking a zero tolerance.

"Those that wish to go out and do the wrong thing and light fires without permits and cause fires to escape properties, we will be taking fairly serious action with them.

"We're not trying to stop people from burning… if they want to burn, come and talk to us, and we'll have a look at what their proposals are."

Supt Brett said the combination of a dry winter and extensive frost had created a lot of fuel for fires.

Topics:  bushfire rural fire service



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