It wasn’t just fog about the valley this morning. Even after the light cloud had evaporated there remained a thick haze – the result of a massive hazard reduction burn off by the National Parks & Wildlife Service in the Wild Dog Range south of Megalong Valley. That combined with local landholders taking advantage of the calm conditions to burn off tree stumps, and the lack of wind has filled the valley with smoke.
The Lithgow Mercury has more to say about the hazards or burning off in these very dry conditions:
WITH an unseasonably warm and dry autumn, the Chifley/Lithgow Rural Fire Service Team has advised residents across the entire district that extra care must be taken when undertaking burning activities on their properties.
There has been a significant increase in fire activity across the Lithgow, Bathurst and Oberon areas in the last couple of weeks.
Brigades have been called out to a number of private burns that have escaped recently.
A backyard cooking fire spread and threatened several homes and damaged a garden shed in South Littleton, while an escaped pile burn burnt out approximately 25 hectares of native vegetation in the Bald Ridge area, Burraga.
Another escaped pile burn which burned several hectares of vegetation in their neighbouring property at Napoleon Reef, Bathurst.
Residents and landowners need to take care when using fire; it is their responsibility to control the fire so it doesn’t escape and cause damage.
Superintendent Tom Shirt said all residents in and around Bathurst, Oberon and Lithgow should take the current conditions seriously. With a lack of recent rain, the fuel on the ground is very dry and the days are remaining warm with many days experiencing light to moderate winds.
“This combination is contributing to the increase of fire activity,” he said.
“We want to remind all residents to ensure that they make all relevant notifications at least 24 hours prior to burning to neighbours and fire control centres and never leave a fire unattended.
“Make sure the burn area has a well cleared break around it and be very mindful of current and predicted weather conditions.
“Even with the best of preparations and intentions, sometimes things go wrong; The fire gets too big or it goes outside its containment lines,” Supt Shirt said.
“If something goes wrong, call Triple Zero (000) for help immediately, it won’t cost you anything but it may save your property or your neighbour’s. The fastest way to get help if you require it is through the Triple Zero system, not by attempting to call the local brigade.”
If you see an unattended fire, please report it to Triple Zero (000)
For more information or to notify your intention to burn, please contact your local fire control centre on 6333 1333 (Bathurst), 6336 0493 (Oberon) or 6353 1862 (Lithgow).
“There is no room for complacency when it comes to bush fire safety,” Supt Shirt said.