Blazing heat is expected to continue across the Southern Downs into the New Year.

Photo: Jayden Brown/Warwick Daily News
Blazing heat is expected to continue across the Southern Downs into the New Year. Photo: Jayden Brown/Warwick Daily News Jayden Brown

Temperature, fire threat on the rise

FIRE crews are bracing for a potentially hazardous heatwave hitting the Clarence Valley today.

The mercury is tipped to hit 36 degrees in Grafton and Yamba, with north westerly winds to reach gusts of up to 60kmh according to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

The NSW RFS this week issued its first total fire bans of the season for the North Coast and is expected to lift the fire danger rating to very high.

Clarence Valley Rural Fire Service district manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said fire crews will be in position to respond rapidly to any incidents.

"A lot of our brigades had a bit of respite between the recent major fires and will be ready to ramp up over the weekend,” Supt Watts said.

A Rapid Aerial Response Team based out of Casino Airport was initiated yesterday.

The RART crew will be on stand-by monitoring a 150km radius from Grafton in the south to the Queensland border.

Northern Rivers RFS zone manager Daniel Ainsworth said lightning storms, high temperatures and gusty winds forecast have elevated the fire danger warning close to severe.

"Saturday's weather in particular has hit a lot of our triggers for activating a higher level of alert,” Mr Ainsworth said.

"Although we've had storms in the area some people have got some rain, other areas have missed out.

"It's still very dry and any new fires will take off very quick in these weather conditions.”

RART can be in the air and on their way to a major fire within 10 minutes of the triple zero call being made.

Fire crews have been fighting a major bushfire believed to have been deliberately lit at multiple locations in and around the Fortis Creek National Park 20km north of Grafton for more than a week.

"Community members of Fortis Creek and The Pinnacles areas have been helping police with their inquiries into the fire,” Supt Watts said.

If you see any suspicious activity phone triple zero.



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