RFS volunteers on high alert
MORE than 100 volunteer firefighters are on standby around the region, ready to drop everything in an instant to don their orange overalls and help out.
Self-employed volunteer Neville Anderson was quick to lend a hand when the Clarence Valley went into very high fire danger yesterday.
The volunteer of 45 years said it was all hands on deck for what was deemed a section 44 fire crisis, which gives the commissioner power to call in other resources.
"We're concerned with the forecast at the moment so we've put all our volunteers on standby ready to roll," Mr Anderson said.
Thirteen fires were burning as of print deadline yesterday, with the three major ones being Coast Range Rd, Wilsons Creek and Red Hill.
RFS public liaison officer Helen Carlos said there were about 30 firefighters on the field as of 3pm yesterday, but with expected wind-direction changes overnight, there could be more out today.
"We're expecting winds to come from the south-east (this morning) which could bring cooler winds, but also change the direction of fires," Ms Carlos said.
Aircraft from Moree were flown in yesterday to assist with the larger fires, as well as personnel from Coffs Harbour and Northern Rivers.
Dozers yesterday skirted the boundaries of the larger fires to try and keep them within containment lines and away from properties, and fixed-winged water bombers assisted crews from the air.
The wind direction was expected to change about 4am this morning.
Today: 19-31 degrees
Afternoon SE winds of 21kmh and possible late shower
Tomorrow: 16-27 degrees
Afternoon NNE winds of 20kmh
Sunday: 17-37 degrees
Afternoon NW winds of 25kmh and possible late shower
PREPARING FOR ANY EMERGENCY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO RFS public liaison officer Helen Carlos said property owners needed to keep an eye on the weather conditions over the next few days. "People need to be aware of where the fires are in relation to them," Ms Carlos said. "They need to keep their eye on the weather conditions and what it means for them. "So if the fire is north-west of them, and the winds are coming from the north-west, it may move towards them." Ms Carlos said Clarence Valley residents should ensure they have a bushfire survival plan in place, or head to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au to download one. PARK CLOSURES AS OF our print deadline yesterday, National Parks had not confirmed which would remain closed and with campfire bans. Head to www.nationalparks .nsw.gov.au for updates. Lawrence Orel, of National Parks, said those who planned to use the parks that were open should consider their routes in accordance with the fire danger levels. "Consider the need to take more remote walks and for long periods," Mr Orel said. "People need to have plenty of opportunity to get to a safe place if they need to."