PLAY IT SAFE: Winds light up fire risk
TIMING is crucial when it comes to conducting hazard reduction burns around your property, according to RFS Clarence Valley district manager Stuart Watts.
"This past week has been pretty windy, so it certainly hasn't been the best time to light up and burn off around your home," he said.
Winds of up to 57 km/hr were recorded in the Clarence Valley over the weekend. However, some landowners did light up despite the potentially dangerous weather conditions.
"I hope that people can look at the forecast and realise that if it's going to be windy when they intend to burn, then they should hold off," Mr Watts said.
"As we move into late winter, early spring, that's when we start to have real issues with people burning off just before the bushfire danger period starts. Everyone needs to play it safe."
Mr Watts said it was important for all landholders to take the appropriate steps before lighting up.
"Check the weather forecast to ensure it's an ideal time, make sure someone is always in attendance of the fire and don't forget to notify neighbours and your local RFS before burning," he said.
This winter, several hazard reduction burns have been carried out across the region in preparation for this year's bushfire season.
"Last year 50 per cent of the area burned, but there are still lots of pockets that were untouched, so all eyes are on the east and those spots that haven't burned," Mr Watts said.
"Depending on the wind, we do anticipate more burning off in the next few days around Minnie Water, Kremnos, Kungala Road and Coutts Crossing."
Mr Watts said he was also pleased to see an influx of new recruits this year.
"We've got around 160 new local fire fighters who will soon be ready to jump on a truck so that's a fantastic outcome," he said.
"It might not be the bushfire danger period yet, but it's important to acknowledge the volunteers who are all doing fantastic work in the background, carrying out these burn-offs and preparing for the upcoming season.
"Their dedication is invaluable."
For the latest on hazard reduction burns, permits and other fire information, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website.