LANDOWNERS burning off over the weekend have caused headaches for the Rural Fire Service (RFS) who were not notified of the hazard reduction burns beforehand.
Several burn offs escaped, quickly getting out of control leaving the the Rural Fire Service to once again appeal to people to take care before burning off and notify fire authorities.
Monaro Rural Fire Service fire mitigation officer Fred Nichols said people need to notify neighbours and their local RFS brigade before lighting fires on their properties.
Burn offs got out of control at a number of properties on the Monaro leaving landowners needing assistance from their local brigade.
Rural fire brigades were called to escaped burn offs at properties near Bunyan, Rose Valley Road, Lake Jindabyne, Lakewood, Bimblegumbie near Lake Crackenback, and Rifle Range Road at Bombala over the weekend.
Then on Monday, fires at Jerangle and Dry Plains Road got out of control when very strong winds whipped up.
NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said that landholders had a responsibility to carefully consider conditions before lighting any burns.
"There are many responsible landowners in NSW who have conducted hazard reductions safely and we thank them for their efforts," Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.
"However, alongside these safe hazard reductions, we also have had to deal with far too many escaped hazard reductions this year.
"Volunteer firefighters have already spent many hours away from their families, friends and jobs this month attempting to control 351 escaped hazard reductions.
"In some instances, these preventable fires have not only damaged the property of landholders, but also the property of their neighbours.
"If people are planning to burn on their own property they must do it safely.
"They also must notify their neighbours and the NSW RFS at least 24 hours before any planned burns and cannot leave fires unattended.
"Escaped hazard reductions will be investigated, and where appropriate, action taken against landowners.
Deputy Commissioner Rogers said action could include substantial fines and, in the most serious cases, prosecution.
"Escaped fires attract a penalty of up to $110,000 and/or five years jail and failure to notify authorities of fires can result in a $5,500 fine and/or twelve months jail," Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.
Monaro Rural Fire Service can help people plan and conduct safe hazard reduction burns to help ensure the safety of both landowners' property and the community.
For more information call Monaro Fire Control Centre (FCC) on 64550455, Berridale FCC 6456 4555 - Bombala FCC 6458 3933.
The FCC can also provide advice on fire permits, hazard reduction certificates, environmental approvals and weather forecasts.