RECENT wet weather has the region's fire fighters on high alert as the Northern Tablelands bushfire danger period begins this weekend.
From Saturday, landholders in the Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Inverell, Tenterfield and Glen Innes-Severn shires will require permits to burn off on their properties.
New England Rural Fire Service (RFS) acting zone manager Inspector Liz Ferris said the recent rainfall had prompted grass growth, which could be risky during the bushfire season.
"Fast-running grass fires have a potential to present significant risk on the Tablelands this season," Inspector Ferris said.
"While it is important to continue hazard reduction, I strongly urge people to exercise caution given the large amount of grass fuel that is around at the moment.
"Residents can ask their local fire control centre for assistance in carrying out safe hazard reductions."
However, while the Northern Tablelands bushfire season begins on Saturday, Tamworth RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said the region's bushfire season was still slated to begin on October 1.
"The standard bushfire danger period for Tamworth starts on October 1 to March 31, but those dates can be altered depending on the conditions and what the risks are," Superintendent Purkiss told the Leader.
"The last few years with the region being so dry, we brought that forward to August and September last year.
"At this stage we are still aiming at October 1, unless conditions dictate otherwise."
Superintendent Purkiss said the Liverpool Plains bushfire danger period was slated to begin on September 1, and landholders across the region should begin preparations.
"Anyone looking to burn off still need to let their local RFS know 24 hours in advance to burning off, but until October 1 they won't need a permit," he said.
"After October 1 anyone wanting to burn off still can, however they will need a permit which changes the guidelines of how the burn off but it is free.
"I would encourage people to get as much of their hazard reduction burning done right now while the conditions are very good.
"Getting rid of all of those potential fire fuels is really important and we are certainly encouraging everyone to do that before it gets too hot."
- For more information visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au