Fire warning for farmers: vigilance needed in coming hot days


 THE NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is urging landholders and farm workers to be cautious when working outside during the next couple of days as increased temperatures and strong winds prove hazardous for fires.

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Canobolas RFS membership services co-ordinator Nils Waite said local fuel conditions, including excessive grass growth, could prove dangerous for workers.

Mr Waite said residents in the Orange area could expect temperatures of around 35 degrees on Friday while in Cowra and Eugowra, temperatures may reach the low 40s.

"There will be low humidity and high winds, so we're recommending anyone who works outside have an extinguishers with them or put off work until around 5am on Saturday when it cools down," he said.

The NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the central west is likely to have a severe fire danger rating on Friday.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said firefighters had been called to 20 harvest-related fires in the past week, including two fires sparked by farm headers in the mid-Lachlan Valley area which destroyed 110 hectares of wheat crops.

"Our volunteers are telling me that conditions are extremely dry and that there has been a noticeable increase in crop fires ignited by headers in recent weeks," he said.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said any driver who throws a lit cigarette faces a $660 fine, which doubles to $1320 during a total fire ban.