12.3 C
Byron Shire
October 17, 2021

New clearing laws in play for bushfire season

Latest News

Let’s get real

AFL Aussie Rules Grand Final in Western Australia... Rugby League Grand Final in Queensland... Melbourne Cup in Tasmania?    Margaret Keating,...

Other News

Thanks David

Thank you David Heilpern for elucidating so eloquently a raft of issues that succinctly cover the current political climate…...

NSW govt’s Health Order lacks clarity

Confused and anxious when it comes to ambiguous and complex COVID-19 laws? You are not alone.

Poor Mandy

Poor Mandy indeed (Letters, 29 September). Glenn, it sounds to me like you’re trying to put Mandy IN her...

Lismore Council votes to naturalise Browns Creek

At Tuesday’s Lismore Council meeting, Councillor Vanessa Ekins moved a motion to begin the Browns Creek Naturalisation Project, which involves the removal of the existing concrete stormwater drain that traverses Lismore Park from Brewster Street through to Uralba Street, and reconstruction as a more natural watercourse.

Queensland Parliamentary Annexe disturbed by Extinction Rebellion protest

This morning, October 13, a protest organised by Extinction Rebellion disrupted the Queensland Parliamentary Annexe in Brisbane.

Sneetches with stars and Sneetches behind bars

Apart from the fact that some people have a valid reason for not being fully or even partially vaccinated, today, the precious lambs become sheep and the others are goats, that is, Sneetches with stars and Sneetches behind bars.

A smoky sunset signals bushfire season has almost begun. (picture Darren Coyne)
A smoky Lismore sunset signals bushfire season has almost begun. (Photo Darren Coyne)

A grass fire burns behind grazing cattle on the outskirts of Lismore. Pic Darren Coyne
A grass fire burns behind grazing cattle on the outskirts of Lismore. (Photo Darren Coyne)

Darren Coyne

A controlled burn on the outskirts of Lismore yesterday evening provided a timely reminder that the bushfire season is almost upon us. It also gave the sunset a stunning, smoky hue.

And the state government has announced new vegetation clearing laws and increased fines for fire-related offences ahead of the bushfire season which starts tomorrow, 1 August (see below).

The ‘official’ bushfire danger period beginning tomorrow means rural landowners around the region will require a permit from their local Rural Fire Service if they need to burn off.

Lismore Fire Brigade commanding officer James Connors told Echonetdaily that last night’s smoke on the horizon was a good reminder that things could heat up over coming months and it was always best to be prepared.

‘We’re anticipating as a consequence of the frosts we’ve had lately that there will be a high incidence of grass fires around the area,’ he said.

‘We’re also anticipating that with an El Nino cycle coming on, which is very dry, it could potentially be a dangerous bushfire period.

Officer Connors said the past four years of heavy rainfall, and the fact there hadn’t been a serious bushfire in the region for decades, meant there was plenty of fuel about.

‘August 1 is the start of the official bushfire danger period and from that day forward you need a permit to light a fire,’ he said.

‘Prior to that date landowners have been able to undertake hazard reduction measures without the need for a permit.’

Lismore’s brigade inspected yesterday’s burn-off following reports of smoke and was satisfied it was under control.

‘There were a number of people in attendance and the property perimeter is ringed by the river,’ officer Connors said.

The Lismore Fire Brigade celebrated its 100th anniversary last December.

Yesterday they raced down the Nimbin Road in a big red fire truck but in the early days it would have been volunteers on a horse-drawn fire cart with 250 foot of hose responding to a potential emergency.

The modern day brigade attended 500 fire and emergency calls last year, as well as taking part in hundreds of community educational activities.

PS: Fires are outlawed at all times in urban areas (unless sausages and common sense are involved!). However, fires are never allowed during a total fire ban.

New clearing laws, fines

Meanwhile, from tomorrow, residents in designated areas will be able to protect their homes from bushfires, with new laws introduced that make it easier to clear trees and vegetation from around their homes.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres announced the commencement of the 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement laws in the Blue Mountains yesterday, along with Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage and NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

Mr Ayres said the NSW government was committed to removing regulatory obstacles for home owners to allow them to adequately prepare their home ahead of the 2014/15 bushfire season.

‘By streamlining the processes for people to remove trees and vegetation, these laws are giving people greater flexibility to improve the safety of their homes,’ Mr Ayres said.

‘The new laws allow people in the designated areas to remove trees within 10 metres of their home, and clear vegetation other than trees within 50 metres of their home, provided they comply with the NSW RFS Code of Practice.’

Roza Sage MP said removing the need for assessment or approval will empower home owners to minimise fuel loads around their home in an environmentally responsible way.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons reminded residents in the designated areas to understand their obligations and check whether they are in the 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area prior to removing vegetation or trees.

‘The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice outlines a number of restrictions which may be relevant, including locations of cultural significance or the slope of their property,’ he said.

The new laws will also apply to schools, childcare centres and hospitals that are situated within the designated areas.

From tomorrow, the RFS will have an online tool available where people can check if they’re in a designated 10/50 vegetation entitlement clearing area.  People can enter their address or lot number into the RFS website to see if the new arrangements apply to them.

Copies of the Code of Practice can be obtained from the RFS or downloaded from www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Mr Ayres also introduced higher penalties for 18 fire-related offences.

‘Among the increases are penalties for littering involving cigarettes and matches, which has doubled to $660 and to $1320 when littering occurs on a day of a Total Fire Ban,’ Mr Ayres said.

‘Fine increases will also target land owners who conduct unlawful hazard reduction burns or fail to extinguish any type of fire.’

Commissioner Fitzsimmons noted the new laws and increased fines have come ahead of what could be a challenging season.

‘Across the north of the state we have already seen windy and dry conditions leading to difficult fires,’ Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

‘In early July we saw 167 bush and grass fires in just four days.  A number of these were on the Mid-North Coast where one shed was destroyed in a fire at Bonny Hills and another burnt some 868 hectares at Great Lakes.’

Twenty-two Local Government Areas (LGAs) commence their Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) tomorrow, eight weeks ahead of the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period.  They include: Ballina, Byron  Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Mandatory vax

I write to you in response to the article on the front page of The Echo relating to mandatory vax. I find it extremely...

End the cult

A military conflict between China and the USA would very likely result in global nuclear war, a major setback to human civilisation and possibly...

Hundreds queue to have COVID test and two new cases in the NNSWLHD

Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) is urging people to continue coming forward for testing and vaccination after two further COVID-19 cases were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, October 14. 

Charges after cars damaged in police pursuit – Coffs Harbour

Police say a man has been charged following a pursuit, where a number of cars – including an unmarked police car – were sideswiped on the Mid-North Coast yesterday.