BE ON THE LOOKOUT: The NSW Rural Fire Service are urging the Northern Rivers community to stay vigilant for fire amid today's severe fire danger rating.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT: The NSW Rural Fire Service are urging the Northern Rivers community to stay vigilant for fire amid today's severe fire danger rating. Mike Knott

Near record temperatures, dry lightning sparks fire warning

LATEST: CONTINUED hot, dry and windy conditions has prompted a Total Fire Ban to be declared across northern NSW on Tuesday.

The Total Fire Ban covers the following council areas: 

  • Far North Coast (Severe) - Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed
  • Far North Coast (Severe) - Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed
  • North Coast (Severe) - Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Kempsey, Nambucca, Mid-Coast
  • New England (Severe) - Glen Innes Severn, Tenterfield, Uralla, Walcha, Armidale
  • Northern Slopes (Severe) - Gunnedah, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth.

The Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Jonathan How said a very hot air mass has built over the continent and is now moving through northern NSW.

He said hot, dry, windy conditions are being felt, with maximum temperatures 10-14C above the average for October.

Mr How said temperatures tomorrow, approaching 40C in some towns, could potentially break records for this time of year.

Hot, dry, windy conditions bring an elevated fire danger, reaching Severe rating in the north east NSW and getting into Extreme territory in the north west fire district.

"So very high fire danger indeed," Mr How said.

He said the conditions brought the potential for thunderstorms, but he warned they could bring dry lightning.

"We are seeing a very unstable atmosphere at the moment, but because the air is so dry coming off the continent, the thunderstorms are likely to cause little, if any rainfall. So dry lightning could spark new fires." 

Relief from the sweltering conditions is expected to come late Tuesday or Wednesday.

A cool change will see temperatures drop significantly to the mid 20s.

Mr How advised the public to stay hydrated and listen to all advice from the RFS.

Forecast temperatures:

Lismore: Tuesday 37C, Wednesday 24C. Reached 38.3C today. Highest on record for October 38.5C in 2012.

Casino: Tuesday 39C, Wednesday 26C. Reached 39.2C today. Highest on record for October, 39.4C in 2012.

Byron Bay: Tuesday 29C, Wednesday 22C. Reached 23.3C today. Highest on record for October, 34C in 2004

Ballina: Tuesday 33C, Wednesday 22C. Reached 30.4C today. Highest on record for October, 37C in 2005.

Kyogle: Tuesday 39C, Wednesday 27C. Reached 39.2C today. Highest on record for October, 39.4C in 2012

Evans Head: Tuesday 34C, Wednesday 23C. Reached 34.8C today. Highest on record for October, 41.6C in 2012.

 

 

 

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) provides the following advice:

Under Severe and Very High fire conditions:
  

  • Well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety during a fire
  •   
  • Follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan and remain vigilant
  •   
  • Keep informed by listening to local radio, watching television news broadcasts and monitoring www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.

 

Please note: The NSW RFS may issue a Harvest Safety Alert for areas of heightened risk. Harvest operators should monitor conditions and regularly check that they are operating within guidelines.

No fires may be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended during a Total Fire Ban. Gas and electric barbeques may be used provided certain conditions are met. Total Fire Ban rules and a map of current Total Fire Ban areas are listed at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. 


 

 

Original story: THE New South Wales Rural Fire Service is urging the Northern Rivers community to stay vigilant for fire amid a severe fire danger rating.

Superintendent Michael Brett said with today's heightened fire risk and a total fire ban in place, the NSW RFS is pleading with people not to light fires.

"Today is not the day for lighting fires," Supt Brett said.

"We need a lot of vigilance from the community right now. We're dry and we need rain."

Supt Brett said crews had already attended an illegal pile burn earlier this morning, and reminded residents a total fire ban was in place, meaning there are to be no fires lit.

During total fire ban conditions, no fire may be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.

This includes incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel such as wood, charcoal or heat beads, and no general purpose welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting can be done in the open.

"If you are a landholder with a fire on your property, you must make sure all fires are completely extinguished," Supt Brett said.

There are currently a number of incidents across the Northern Rivers, but Supt Brett said the greatest focus has been on the Busbys Flat Road fire near Rappville.

Supt Brett said there are currently crews from the NSW RFS and Forestry working to contain the fire.

"The weather is quite good at the moment, but we do have a concern the winds will pick up this afternoon," he said.

Supt Brett said if members of the community see an unattended fire they should call 000.

"We are currently also investigating a smoke sighting near Homeleigh," he said.

"There is some smoke around the region, so people are going to see it, but we just want to remind people to be vigilant."

Supt Brett said if people see any suspicious activity surrounding fires, such as persons or vehicles leaving the scene of a fire, to contact police and 000.