Bega smoked, but where's the fire?

THICK smoke drifting into the Bega area on Tuesday was not the result of bushfire or planned hazard reduction.

Superintendent John Cullen, team manager Far South Coast Rural Fire Service (RFS), said the only hazard reduction in the Bega Valley on Tuesday was a small controlled burn to the east of Quaama that was only producing localised smoke.

A spokesperson for NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service said it was still too wet for staff to begin planned hazard reduction at Postmans Track in South East Forests National Park and at Green Cape Heath in Ben Boyd National Park.

Instead the smoke haze is believed to be derived from numerous burn-offs by private landholders taking advantage of the end of the statutory bushfire danger period and the need for fire permits on Tuesday.

When announcing the end of fire permit season, Superintendent Cullen cautioned residents to be vigilant when starting hazard reduction on their property.

“Even though a fire permit from the Rural Fire Service is no longer a requirement, residents must still notify their neighbours and the local fire authority 24 hours before burning,” he said.

“People should also check whether they need a bushfire hazard reduction certificate or any other approvals, and have sufficient equipment to control and contain the fire on their property.

“Residents in urban areas should check with council to see if restrictions apply under Environmental Protection Authority regulations.

“Despite these milder conditions, there is always the potential for fires to threaten life, property and the environment, if not managed correctly,” Superintendent Cullen said.

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