Landholders conducting backburning without the knowledge of firefighters can be hindering efforts in fighting fires.
Landholders conducting backburning without the knowledge of firefighters can be hindering efforts in fighting fires. Marc Stapelberg

Unauthorised backburning hinders firefighting efforts

THE hard work of firefighters trying to contain blazes across the Clarence Valley has been undermined by landholders attempting unauthorised backburning without the knowledge of fire fighting crews near them.

In a statement, NSW RFS Clarence Valley District said backburning is a firefighting technique used by firefighters to remove fuel ahead of a fire front in order to stop the fire's progress.

"If they are not carefully planned and implemented they can easily get away and spread the fire," it said.

"NSW RFS crews have carried out extensive preparatory works, carefully monitoring conditions and preparing to light back-burns to deepen containment lines only to have this work hampered by landholders starting their own burns with no discussion with us.

"Firefighters lives can also be unknowingly placed at risk where they are conducting operations between the fire and an unapproved backburn."

Although most of the smoke haze has dissipated, fires continue to pop up throughout the Clarence Valley.

On Sunday, firefighters worked into the night to bring the Shark Creek 3 fire back under control after it flared up that afternoon.

Backburning operations were also in full swing near Halfway Creek yesterday to help bring the 1700 hectare Bald Knob 2 blaze under control.

The Myall Creek fire has backtracked north to where it originally started, giving Woombah and Ashby Heights residents some reprieve following a week of anxiety.

However, falling trees in these areas have led to a few flare-ups which crews have been quick to respond to over the past few days.

The Washpool State Forest fire continues to burn north of the Gwydir Highway in the Coombadjha, Mookima and Fine Flower Creek areas with crews expecting to backburn should conditions allow.

Residents are urged to ring triple-0 if they see any unattended fires.



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