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Right on cue Kalaru grass-fire reminds locals fire season is here

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A grass-fire at Kalaru yesterday was contained, but alarmed many locals, and was a reminder that the fire season is here. Image courtesy of Steve Sass. 

Yesterday afternoon's grass-fire at Kalaru, near Tathra, alarmed many. One local woman said on social media to say she dreaded what would happen when the strong winds arrived.

It wasn't the first fire to break out in the region last month. In Dampier State Forest there is a 260 hectare fire burning, being run by NSW Forestry. There are another two smaller bushfires burning in the Eurobodalla and one at Burragate in the Bega Valley.  

Climate change is making fire seasons longer and fire behaviour more unpredictable. This isn't really news to many people on the Far South Coast who faced devastating fires last year. The brief for the Tathra & District Fire is currently with the NSW Coroner and we're expecting a date to be announced for the coronial soon. 

NSW Rural Fire Service Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers says the 12 Local Government Areas, including Eurobodalla and Bega Valley, will enter the official Bush Fire Danger Period today. That's eight weeks early. He says conditions are drier and warmer than average, with more than 98 per cent of NSW drought affected. 

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Local RFS crews responded quickly to the Kalaru grass-fire. Image courtesy Steve Sass.

Repeating what Far South Coast Superintendent John Cullen said yesterday, Acting Commissioner Rogers says now is the time for residents and land managers to start preparing for the threat of bush fire.

“During the Bush Fire Danger Period, land owners and managers are required to obtain a FirePermit from their local Fire Control Centre before lighting any fires, including hazard reduction burns.

“Last season we saw more fires in July and August then the whole of summer combined,” Acting Commissioner Rogers said.
 
“This means doing simple things like cleaning your gutters, removing combustibles from your yard, ensuring hoses can reach all corners of your property and completing or updating your bush fire survival plan, so you and your family know what you will do in the event of a bush fire.”
 
“I encourage households to update their bush fire survival plan and make sure the whole family knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives.”
 
“Ask yourself, when you will go, what you will take and where will you go.”
 
Information about hazard reduction burning and required notifications is available on the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/BFDP.

Meanwhile the Tathra Rural Fire Service posted this message a short time ago: 

The Bushfire danger period is now in effect on the Far South Coast.

This means that it is now ILLEGAL to light any fire to burn garden waste etc without a permit.

Fire permits are only not required for fires for the purpose of heating or cooking, provided that the fire is:

  • in a permanently constructed fireplace;
  • at a site surrounded by ground that is cleared of all combustible materials for a distance of at least two metres all around;
  • completely extinguished before leaving.

HEAVY PENALTIES APPLY FOR BREACHES INCLUDING POSSIBLE GAOL TIME