High fire danger forces RFS to suspend all permits
UPDATE, 8.55am: THE Rural Fire Service has suspended all fire permits for the Far North Coast weather district until midnight tonight.
Inspector Daniel Ainsworth said there was a very high fire danger for the region.
Fire permits were due to come into effect today, but Insp Ainsworth said the decision had been made to suspend all permits for a 24-hour period.
There are a number of out of control fires around the region, including blazes at Bentley, Leeville, Saw Pit Creek, and Mallanganee.
More updates to come during the day.
GRASS fires are burning out of control near Casino and Lismore as the 2014/15 fire season gets off to a smokey start this morning.
Following a dry winter, the start of the formal bush fire danger period for the end of this year and start of next year has been moved up two months from October 1 to today, August 1, and it seems we're off to a running start.
The Northern Rivers has kicked off the fire season with smoke in the air and a "very high" fire danger rating from the Rural Fire Service.
This time yesterday there were 11 bush and grass fires burning between Grafton and the Queensland border, three of which were burning out of control.
As of 5.30am this morning, there are now 24 burning between Grafton and the border, along with another dozen burning between Grafton and Coffs.
Ten of the 24 blazes between Grafton and the border are out of control. None of the fires present an immediate danger to life or property, but some are relatively close to built-up areas.
The closest is an out-of-control grass fire burning at Hillcrest Lane, Casino, near the meatworks.
Another out-of-control grass fire is burning just outside the village of Tuncester, at the junction of Bentley Road and Altinier Road.
Three of the 24 fires are hazard reduction burns, with the remainder either under control or being brought under control.
The "very high" fire danger rating issued by the Rural Fire Service cover the Northern Rivers, New England and Mid-North Coast areas and is the highest rating currently in effect for NSW.
The rating sits in the middle of the fire danger scale, which has seven levels starting at "none" and peaking at "catastrophic".
The Rural Fire Service advises people in an area with a very high fire danger rating to review their bush fire survival plans with their families.
"Keep yourself informed and monitor conditions. Be ready to act if necessary."