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Backyard burning do’s and don’ts

27 March, 2019Posted in: Environment, Other
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Wingecarribee Shire Council, NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) are reminding residents of the need for continued fire safety vigilance despite the pending close of the Bushfire Danger Period.

“The last official day of the Bush Fire Danger Period is Sunday 31 March 2019,” said Superintendent Martin Surrey District Manager Southern Highlands Team NSW RFS.

Such were the dry conditions at the start of the 2018/19 bushfire season that the danger period was brought forward a full month starting 1 September 2018.

“A number of conditions led to the current Bush Fire Danger Period being brought forward,” Superintendent Martin Surrey said.  “This included the protracted drought that we still find ourselves in and its impact leading to an increase in severity and frequency of bushfires occurring outside of traditional times of the year.”

As of 1 April 2019 backyard burning is again permissible across the Wingecarribee Shire when certain conditions are met.

“First and foremost residents wishing to undertake a burn should check they are allowed to do so,” said Mr Rhydderch, Council’s Environmental Projects Officer.  “This can be done by accessing Council’s online Backyard Burning Map App and seeing when, where and how backyard burning can be undertaken.”

As per Council’s Urban Backyard Burning of Vegetation Policy adopted in 2017, only properties larger than 4,000 square metres, across all of the Shire’s towns and villages, can undertake backyard burning of dry vegetation as long as certain conditions are met.

These conditions include seeking the relevant permits, ensuring the burn meets Rural Fire Service (RFS) Standards for Pile Burning, giving at least 24 hours-notice to neighbours and only burning dead and dry vegetation.   A responsible person should also always remain with the fire and have resources at hand to put the fire out if required.

Under the Rural Fires Act 1997, permits are required at different times of the year depending on whether the fire is in an NSW RFS zone or FRNSW zone.  Across the Wingecarribee Shire all fire permits are allocated by either the RFS or FRNSW depending on the location of the property.

Thomas Freedom, Zone Commander of FRNSW said that even though the Bushfire Danger Period was coming to a close, most properties in our major towns still required a Fire Permit.

All burning and any existing permits are automatically revoked on days of Total Fire Ban and No Burn Days.

“To avoid any confusion, we recommend anyone wishing to undertake backyard burning to first visit our Backyard Burning Map App and ensure they are eligible to do so and see what requirements are needed,” Mr Rhydderch added.

To access the online interactive Backyard Burning Map App and view the full list of conditions, fact sheets and learn how to apply for a Fire Permit, visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/backyard-burning.

“We continue to encourage all residents to use other preferred methods of green waste disposal, including fortnightly organics collection, using dry logs for heating, mulching or composting and taking your green waste to the Resource Recovery Centre.”

To learn more about the Bush Fire Danger Period visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or contact your local Fire Control Centre.