FIRES: "Wednesday is the day we are expecting the worst"

ON ALERT: East Ballina resident Allan Hay has lived in the area for 40 years and watches to see what the bushfire is doing as smoke piles into the air.
ON ALERT: East Ballina resident Allan Hay has lived in the area for 40 years and watches to see what the bushfire is doing as smoke piles into the air. Marc Stapelberg

WITH hotter weather predicted, fire services and the Bureau of Meteorology are warning of an increased fire danger across the Northern Rivers this week.

Fire & Rescue NSW Superintendent Steve Hirst said everyone needs to be aware the fire danger period is on a permanent variation schedule which comes into force on September 1.

He cited the fire, which was started by causes unknown around 3.30am on Monday, as a good example.

"The fire danger now is quite unusual because of the horrific floods in March and April and we have some green out there," he said. "But the vegetation is quite dry as evidenced by the fire started by unknown cause at the old golf club site at Links Rd in Ballina."

Fire & Rescue NSW is working closely with its Rural Fire Service colleagues on the Ballina fire which it plans to have blackened out by Monday evening. He said firefighters had taken the opportunity to do a controlled burn and hazard reduction and get a jump start for summer.

"We are working hand-in-hand with our counterparts from the Rural Fire Service to combat and fire and hazard reduction," he said. "Even though it's a low risk incident we ask people to stay out."

Rural Fire Service superintendent Michael Brett said he just completed a 300km round trip in the region and predicted tomorrow would be the day to watch.

"Wednesday is the day we are expecting the worst with winds picking up substantially," he said. "Our concerns are while we encourage landholders to do hazard reduction, we remind them to have good containment lines so in the winds their fires stay where they should and not run onto a neighbours' property."

Sup Brett said landowners needing information or advice should contact their local rural fire brigade sooner rather than later.

"Or they can come and talk to us a fire control centre," he said.

A bureau spokesman said Thursday might hit low 30s ahead of a cold front on Friday.

Topics:  east ballina fire northern rivers emergency

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