THERE was a thick, smoky haze across town and no major fire threats, but one local has been slapped with a fine after lighting up.
The 48-year-old man was issued with a $330 infringement notice after lighting a fire without a permit on Monday, and failing to properly extinguish it.
Fire crews and police were called to the property on Armidale Rd at Nemingha yesterday morning, after the fire took hold of a tree.
Tamworth police Sergeant Josh McKenzie said the potential for fire danger was very real.
“It’s very dangerous, given the prevailing conditions,” he told The Leader.
“This fire was contained to the property where it had originated, but the occupant hadn’t notified neighbours.”
The penalties could have been more severe if the fire was lit during yesterday’s total fire ban.
Sergeant McKenzie said the fine should serve as a warning.
“We will take action if people aren’t complying with the laws, because they are there for a reason,” he said.
“They are risking other people’s properties and potentially lives.
“If you’re considering burning off through the bushfire danger period then police do urge you to contact the Rural Fire Service (RFS).”
Meanwhile, the area escaped relatively unscathed as the hot, dry and windy weather gripped the region, with only a few callouts for local brigades.
The New England zone had extra crews on patrol just in case, but luckily they were able to douse hot spots quickly and keep an eye on a few blazes.
“We were prepared for a really busy day. We had a number of fires, which we were aware of, but we managed to contain them all,” New England RFS Inspector Tim Butcher said.
“There were crews on five fires.
“They varied across the zone, from over near Bundarra and Copeton Dam and over to the east, to the Guy Fawkes and gorge area.
“It’s been a significant effort from volunteers and we’ve been assisted by State Parks and Forests as well.”
In the Namoi Gwydir zone it was a similar story, with crews tackling just a handful of small blazes.
Inspector Brett Loughlin said searing temperatures and winds worked against volunteers, after a 10-hectare grass fire took off near Pallamallawa.
“It took three fire trucks to extinguish it under the hot and windy conditions and we’re working with police to work out how the fire was started,” he said.
“There was also a couple of calls, with people getting concerned about the haze in the air, and a few crews did some patrols.
“A lot of it is just dust that has been kicked up by the strong winds.”
The RFS said most people had been well behaved and on alert for the first signs of a fire, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
All fire permits have been suspended for a second day across the New England North West, with a high fire danger still in force.
Sizzling temperatures are predicted for today and tomorrow, with the winds also forecast to return when tomorrow rolls around. The RFS said it would wait for up-to-date conditions from the Bureau of Meteorology before determining whether a total fire ban would be in force for tomorrow.