RFS warns against slashing, welding during fire ban
THE RURAL Fire Service has warned residents to follow extra precautions as the mercury soars this week.
RFS Northern Rivers Superintendent Boyd Townsend said while all fires in the district were currently under control, this could quickly change in the very hot and dry conditions.
Supt Townsend said a total fire ban - in place across all of NSW today - could be extended to tomorrow, but this will be confirmed later today.
Temperatures are forecast to reach 40C in Lismore and Casino tomorrow.
Supt Townsend said the RFS hadn't been issuing any fire permits locally for about the past month.
"It's pretty obvious that it's hot outside today," he said.
"Things are so dry for the Northern Rivers at the moment.
"Any fires starting are going to be difficult."
He said very low humidity and north-westerly winds were contributing to the potentially dangerous conditions.
Supt Townsend said it was likely a total fire ban would remain in place for Wednesday.
"We just want to get the message out that people can't go and light up a pile of leaves in their backyard," he said.
He said it was also important for people to minimise certain farm-related activities in the heat of the day.
He said welding and grinding in the open was a high-risk activity that could spark a fire in the current conditions.
Slashing, also, could be "quite dangerous" and should be avoided, he said.
Fires in the open are not permitted during a total fire ban, including solid-fuel barbecues.
Supt Townsend said gas barbecues at premises were allowed.
He said firefighters were yesterday called to a blaze in Broadwater caused by this sort of work.
"That was caused by people welding a tank in a grass paddock," Supt Townsend said.
"That got away fairly quickly... (but) was brought under control before it got to the National Park, which was good."
He said a crew working on the Pacific Highway upgrade kindly lent fire crews a hand with their grader.
Fire crews had been called twice in two days to the same location in Bora Ridge, which is believed to have been deliberately lit.
"We believe (this fire) is suspicious and we've got fire investigators looking at that," Supt Townsend said.
He said a fire on Mothersoles Rd at Ellangowan was also being investigated.
For updated fire danger information, visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.