RFS and local brigades preparing for bushfire danger period

Noona Rural Fire Brigade members met at Broadmeadows on Saturday to discuss the upcoming Bush Fire Danger Period. During the meeting brigade captain Bill Rogers was presented with a 50 Year Clasp in recognition of his ongoing service to the community.

The Rural Fire Service and local rural fire brigades are preparing for the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period, which begins next month for fire prone areas, including Cobar Shire.
Rural Fire Service District Manager for the Far West area, Superintendent Vaughn Els-worth, said after enduring a number of years of drought, and then recent good rain, there is now enough fuel present across the western area to cause concern.
“Our request of all land owners is to ensure they are prepared,” Superintendent Elsworth said.
He said rural fire brigades play a big part in supporting the community in times of an emer-gency.
“Communities may be a physical location centred around a township or village (Euabalong, Cobar or Nymagee) or a Geo-graphical area (Bulla, Cubba, Noona),” Super-intendent Elsworth said.
“The role of the brigade in these areas can be different due to the environment—all of our brigades have a grass or bushfire risk element and with many this would be the major compo-nent—however over the last five years we have seen our brigades along the highways respond to an increasing number of vehicle related inci-dents (car fires and accidents).
“Besides having an operational role (firefighting), many brigades also have admin-istrative functions particularly around Permit Issuing.
“Most, but not all brigades, have at least one to two senior members of the brigade who are utilised to issue Fire Permits during the Fire Danger Period.
“This is best managed at the local level by the brigades due to their more detailed local knowledge of the area, their people and the risk.”
Anybody wishing to light a fire on their property during the Bush Fire Danger Period will require a permit.
“Even with a permit you need to check whether a Total Fire Ban is in place before lighting any fires,” Superintendent Elsworth warned.
Permits can be obtained from the local Bri-gade Permit Officer or the Fire Control Centre.
Permit holder conditions include: mandatory notification to the local Fire Control Centre prior to lighting (minimum 24 hours) and also giving notice to your immediate neighbours.
“Local Brigade Permit Issuing Officers are only able to issue a permit for land within their Brigade Area – if you live in that area but have a property outside of that area you need to contact the relevant Issuing Officer,” Superin-tendent Elsworth advised.
“Fire Permits are recorded centrally and are accessible by authorised officers.
“When they are recorded we need three criti-cal pieces of information: your Rural Address Number eg 21635 Kidman Way (unfortunately our systems do not use property names); an email address (your registered per-mit details will be emailed to this location); and a phone number (mobile preferred – this is so text messages can be sent advising if there is a change in Fire Danger Rating eg Total Fire Ban during the duration of your permit).”
Superintendent Elsworth said serious penal-ties, including fines and/or imprisonment, ap-ply for starting a fire without a permit during the Bush Fire Danger Period.