Media Release - NSW Rural Fire Service Concerned re Open Burning in Chifley / Lithgow Area

MEDIA RELEASE

26 August 2019

Many land owners are undertaking open burning activities on their property for agricultural reasons and/or to remove fallen debris.  However during the past two weeks, NSW RFS has responded to more than 20 fire incidents in the Bathurst, Oberon and Lithgow areas.  Over half of these were due to land owners losing control of their planned burning activity.
The most recent activity was an uncontrolled fire on a property which burnt 47 hectares and destroyed a structure on the property.
NSW RFS Inspector Mick Holland said that the NSW RFS supports the use of fire to manage properties, however due to the current dry conditions, we urge the community to only burn if absolutely necessary.
“The conditions are very deceiving at the moment and should not be taken for granted because it is still winter. The wind may be light in the morning, but it has been deteriorating rapidly during the day and has caught some experienced land owners unaware.” said Inspector Holland.
The use of fire for land management is supported by the NSW RFS provided the burns are undertaken safely and the required approval/permissions are obtained.  This includes notifying the NSW RFS and neighbours of the intention to conduct the burn and ensuring the fire is extinguished before leaving it.
“We realise that this is traditionally the best time of the year to conduct this burning, however the current conditions are far from normal for this time of the year.” said Inspector Holland.
The rainfall during the past 3 months is only half what we would normally receive and the outlook is for this trend to continue.
“One of our biggest concerns is the severe lack of water available to land owners and fire fighting authorities to control or extinguish fires. This adds to the danger of using fire now and is expected to be even more serious when the warmer weather arrives.” said Inspector Holland.
“We encourage people to seek advice from their local NSW RFS Fire Control Centre on how to safely conduct hazard reduction activities such as slashing, trittering and burning, and how to prepare their homes for the coming bush fire season, which starts on 1 September 2019.”
“From 1 September 2019, any open burning requires a written fire permit from the NSW RFS or Fire & Rescue NSW.  Any person wishing to obtain a permit is to call their local Fire Control Centre.” said Inspector Holland.