High fire alert for Clarence

THE Clarence Valley is unlikely to face the devastating fires experienced in Victoria, but firefighters have warned residents to be prepared for the worst if there is no rain over the next fortnight.

Yesterday the Clarence Valley was on a high fire danger alert, the third highest ranking on the Rural Fire Service (RFS) scale, which ranges from low to extreme.

RFS Clarence Valley district manager Brett Condie said the fire danger was influenced by many factors including heat, humidity, wind, rainfall and drought conditions.

“Conditions can change ... if we have another fortnight with no rain, for instance,” Mr Condie said.

He said the lack of rain meant more dry surface fuels and residents needed to check and clear gutters and trim and slash vegetation near assets.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted about 25 millimetres of rain in light showers over the next eight days in Grafton, reducing the risk of an extreme fire danger, but the total rainfall for the month is still well below the average February total of 145.5mm.

Mr Condie said the experience in Victoria and southern NSW was a reminder of the importance for people to have a plan in the event of a fire and know the potential impact of fire on their property.

“People need their own contingency plan of what to do under what circumstances and when,” he said.

No local RFS or NSW Fire Brigade firefighters have been deployed to Victoria , but Mr Condie said there were no shortage of volunteers .

“We have contingency plans to send crews south if required,” he said. He said RFS headquarters would call on crews if needed, but proper resources needed to be in place for anyone brought into the area.

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