Government turns up heat on fire offences

ON GUARD: Firefighters battle a blaze believed to have been deliberately lit in Bomaderry last week. Arsonists face stiffer penalties.

ON GUARD: Firefighters battle a blaze believed to have been deliberately lit in Bomaderry last week. Arsonists face stiffer penalties.

TOUGHER penalties for 18 fire-related offences came into force on Friday.

The fines for littering involving cigarettes and matches have doubled to $660 and to $1320 when littering on a day of a total fire ban.

Fine increases will also target landowners who conduct unlawful hazard reduction burns or fail to extinguish any type of fire.

The RFS will work closely with NSW Police to ensure the new laws are implemented.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the new laws and increased fines had come ahead of what could be a challenging fire season.

“Across the north of the state we have already seen windy and dry conditions leading to difficult fires,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“Residents should continue to make vital preparations for the upcoming bushfire season including hazard reduction burns where appropriate. 

“These activities just need to be conducted responsibly.”

The new laws regarding vegetation clearing also came into play on Friday. 

They allow people in designated areas to remove trees within 10 metres of their home, and clear vegetation other than trees within 50 metres of their home, provided they comply with the NSW RFS Code of Practice.

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