RFS crews are beginning to feel the heat as a number of grass fires take off, both deliberately lit and out of control burn offs.
The Liverpool Range RFS has received about half a dozen call-outs for fires without a permit or suspicious blazes in the past four days, while crews were called to a blaze at Manilla on Monday night, which may have been intentionally lit.
A clearing on Bowman St in the town has become a dumping ground for green waste but it all went up in flames sometime after 9pm.
Unknown persons sparked the fire in the dry grass with flames leaping metres into the air.
One Fire and Rescue NSW truck was called to the blaze with two RFS trucks and an extra crew called for back-up.
Firefighters managed to back burn around the blaze before it got out of control.
There was no damage to the council-owned land but the cause of the blaze is under investigation by police.
Tamworth RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said land owners burning off without a permit had also been a problem.
“We’re wasting brigades’ time and valuable volunteers’ time,” Superintendent Purkiss said. “We’re getting brigades out of bed at 5 o’clock in the morning to go and investigate these burns that they don’t need to go to.”
Superintendent Purkiss is warning land holders to notify authorities before they spark up.
“We’re just trying to make sure we get on top of it before it becomes a problem,” he said.
“Regardless they need to notify us they’re going to have a fire.”
And the penalties are costly for those that ignore the rules.
“There can be an infringement notice of $550 for failing to notify the relevant authorities and neighbours that bound their property,” Superintendent Purkiss said.
“Or if it goes to court there can be a $5500 fine or 12 months in prison.
“We want people to let us know during the week before they do a burn on the weekend.
“They need to be notifying the fire control offices between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday for that
Meanwhile, in the New England, it’s a different story.
The region is already under bushfire danger period conditions and permits are a must, Inspector Tim Butcher says.
“Walcha shire along with Uralla, Guyra and Armidale shires are all under permits,” he said.