Cropping

NSW harvest on fire alert

Liz Wells, December 15, 2016

FARMERS and harvesting contractors are on full alert in NSW where volatile fire conditions brought harvest to a halt in southern areas on Tuesday and the forecast points to the likelihood of more extreme days to come before harvest is finished.

NSW croppers are on alert for fires.

NSW croppers are on alert for fires.

A spokesperson for the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said the service had issued a request to landholders in southern NSW to cease harvesting last Tuesday when the fire risk rose to dangerous levels.

“Conditions in the Bland shire, Temora shire, the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and Riverina got to the point on Tuesday where the RFS alerted farmers that they should cease harvest due to the strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity. It was lifted later in the evening when conditions had improved,” he said.

The spokesman said conditions had since eased across most of the state but producers should remain on alert because high risk conditions were set to return on the weekend.

“Most of NSW has low to moderate fire danger today and tomorrow, but the preliminary forecast for Saturday is high fire danger for the eastern and southern Riverina, very high fire danger for the northern Riverina, and most other parts of the state are high as well. That continues on Sunday,” he said.

“We encourage all landholders to remain vigilant and alert and to make sure they clean their machinery as they go.”

A number of fires have already been attributed to being started by sparks from machinery.

There have been increased reports of header fires throughout the eastern cropping belt this season due to heavy, dusty crops.

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The RFS has developed a ‘Grain Harvesting and Fire Safety’ guide to help farmers gauge when the fire risk reaches the point where they should halt harvesting operations:

Source: NSW RFS

Source: NSW RFS. (Click on table to enlarge)

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