With the area hit by a rash of illegal fires since the first of the month and elevated fire dangers this week, the Rural Fire Service is concerned that some local residents continue to light fires on their property - even though permits have been suspended indefinitely.
"The permit suspension went into effect on 1 September when the Bush Fire Danger Period started one month early across the entire council area until further notice," Inspector Troy Gersback, of the Cudgegong NSW RFS District, said.
"Failure to adhere to this can attract a fine or imprisonment or both. More importantly failure to heed it under the hot, dry conditions across our area could start a bush fire with a potentially devastating impact on life and property."
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The NSW RFS issued a warning on Wednesday to expect an increased risk of bush fires across Thursday and Friday, due to strengthening west to north westerly winds, before a change brings cooler temperatures over the weekend.
Yesterday afternoon a total fire ban was issued for tomorrow, along with a 'Severe' fire danger rating.
"Severe to extreme fire danger is likely. Stay up to date, review your fire plan and if threatened by fire know when you will leave, what you will take and where you will go," the warning said.
Inspector Gersback said weather conditions such as this make compliance with the suspension of fire permits especially important.
"We have spread the word of this permit suspension as widely as possible, using social media as well as the traditional broadcast and print news media, and we thank the media for their help," he said.
"Despite this our volunteers were called to five fires across the district during the first four days of September - four the result of illegally burning rubbish or piles of sticks and logs, and one caused by an unattended campfire.
"With the increased fire danger forecast till the end of this week, our volunteer firefighters will be kept busy enough without needing to attend careless fires such as we have seen since September 1."
Failure to adhere to this can attract a fine or imprisonment or both. More importantly failure to heed it under the hot, dry conditions across our area could start a bush fire with a potentially devastating impact on life and property.Inspector Troy Gersback, Cudgegong NSW RFS District
Under these conditions anyone spotting smoke, other than chimney smoke, should call triple- zero (000), because there is virtually no chance it would be coming from a legal fire.
"It is essential for our firefighters to get to the scene of a fire as quickly as possible," Inspector Gersback said. "The longer a fire burns unchecked, the more likely it is to pose a major risk to life and property."
Fire permits are normally issued for burning off that can be conducted safely during the Bush Fire Danger Period. But under the current suspension none of these permits will be issued until significant rain reduces the bush fire risk across the Council area.
"The only exception to this ban on permits will be for very special permits allowing the burning of dead animals who have to be put down or who perish due to the drought. These permits carry strict conditions including a three-day limit on using them," he added.