'Please, just stop': Firefighter's plea to put away matches
A SENIOR firefighter has asked people to "put away their matches," ahead of hotter conditions predicted for the weekend.
Rural Fire Service Northern Zone Superintendent Michael Brett said as firefighters move into their fifth month of suppressing fires in the region, it was about time the small number of people who ignored permit restrictions during bushfire danger periods woke up and realised their actions could endanger people.
Supt Brett said the majority of landowners were very responsible and made an effort to be educated as to weather and bushfire conditions and current permit allowances.
But he said a small percentage of absentee landlords were of grave concern.
"I have a problem with landholders, particularly those who live in Queensland, come down here and do a burn off and don't consider beyond their own backyard," he said.
"These owners do a burn-off and seem oblivious to bushfire regulations.
"We know based on historic fact that some people leave these burn-offs and then we have to deal with them when they get away into timber country."
Supt Brett said unfortunately, a few entitled landowners are tarnishing the reputation of everyone by their arrogant attitude as they don't appear to worry about causing threats to life and property.
"Repeat offenders who would prefer to stump up and pay fines rather then be responsible are a real frustration for firefighters, he said.
"Some don't care, they'd rather pay the fine."
Supt Brett said the RFS work closely with NSW Police on such matters.
He said the reason fines have increased dramatically over the past few years for burning off or lighting fires outside of permit times is to try to deter irresponsible behaviour.
"The police have worked beside us for the past four months supporting us through the recent devastating bushfires," he said.
"People have been issued court attendance notices for burning."
If anyone has any knowledge of people lighting fires then they are asked to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.