The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is advising Campbelltown, Camden and Liverpool Council residents that fire permits will be required from the 1st of September.
NSW RFS Inspector Nick Medianik said the ongoing dry conditions mean fires are more likely to start and spread quickly hence the Bush Fire Danger Period will be brought forward to start on 1 September 2018. "From 1 September 2018 until the end of the Bush Fire Danger Period, people wishing to light a fire in the open will require a permit. Permits are free and can be obtained by contacting the Macarthur Fire Control Centre, on 9608 7777 during business hours."
"With the lack of any notable rainfall and warm windy conditions, people need to be extremely careful when using fire. Never leave a fire unattended and if a fire does escape, it is essential to call Triple Zero (000) immediately so that emergency services can respond accordingly and minimise the damage."
Inspector Medianik said heavy fines may apply for the unsafe use of fire or if a fire escapes a property. "Landholders and residents who fail to obtain a Fire Permit, notify the NSW RFS or Fire and Rescue NSW and their neighbours 24hrs in advance face fines of up to $5,500 and/or 12 months prison while escaped fires attract penalties of up to $110,000 and/or 5 years prison."
With the early start to the fire season the NSW RFS is urging residents to complete a Bush Fire Survival Plan and ensure all members of the household know what to do on days of increased fire danger and if their home is threatened by fire. Residents should prepare their property by removing flammable materials from their yards, clearing gutters of leaves, checking hoses and, where appropriate, conducting hazard reduction activities.
"When conditions are particularly bad, such as on days of Severe, Extreme or Catastrophic Fire Danger, the NSW RFS may declare a Total Fire Ban, prohibiting the lighting of any fire in the open, even if you have a Fire Permit." Lighting or maintaining a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban can attract penalties of up to $5500 and/or 12 months prison.
On a day of Total Fire Ban the lighting of fires is prohibited. This includes cooking fires, using incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel, such as wood or charcoal. Information about Bush Fire restrictions and Total Fire Ban declarations is published at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. Locals can also call the Macarthur Control Centre on 9608 7777 or the Bushfire Information Line on 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).