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Using a barbecue in Sydney could lead to jail time and a $5,500 fine

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Australians could be jailed and stung with a fine for using barbecues this summer.

The strict penalties apply in Sydney for people using a wood or coal-fired barbecue without proper provisions for putting fires out.

Lighting a fire would result in a fine of $2,200 but if the matter is taken to court, people could face a year in jail and be fined up to $5,500. 

Sydneysiders could face 12 months in jail and be slapped with a $5,500 fine for using a barbeque during a statewide total fire ban (stock image)

Sydneysiders could face 12 months in jail and be slapped with a $5,500 fine for using a barbeque during a statewide total fire ban (stock image)

Sydneysiders could face 12 months in jail and be slapped with a $5,500 fine for using a barbeque during a statewide total fire ban (stock image)  

Australians who start a fire, which spreads, hurts a person or destroys property during the ban will be slapped with a maximum fine of $132,000.

Additionally, they could also face 14 years behind bars.  

Total fire bans in Sydney are implemented by the NSW Rural Fire Service, during extremely hot weather and when bushfires are happening. 

Under the ban, it is illegal to light, maintain or use a fire in the open or to carry out any activity outdoors, which is likely to cause a blaze. 

A statewide total fire ban has been declared for Monday and Tuesday, following the devastating blazes, which ravaged the NSW mid north coast on Saturday afternoon. 

But using an electric barbecue for cooking is permitted under the supervision of an adult.

Gas barbecues can also be used on the conditions there is adult supervision, no combustible material within two metres, and an immediate and continuous supply of water.  

The gas barbecue must also be within 20m of a home or be at a designated picnic area and be approved by the council, national parks or state forest.

Total fire bans are declared during extremely hot weather and if bushfires are happening (pictured: a firefighter fights a blaze at a property in Torrington, near Glen Innes, NSW on Sunday)

Total fire bans are declared during extremely hot weather and if bushfires are happening (pictured: a firefighter fights a blaze at a property in Torrington, near Glen Innes, NSW on Sunday)

Total fire bans are declared during extremely hot weather and if bushfires are happening (pictured: a firefighter fights a blaze at a property in Torrington, near Glen Innes, NSW on Sunday)

Permits are suspended during a total fire ban. 

Some activities involving fire can be exempt during the bans, such as emergency infrastructure work, bee hive smokers or ceremonial fires.

The exemptions are detailed in the NSW Government Gazette each time a total fire ban is declared.  

TOTAL FIRE BAN RULES IN NSW 

What is a total fire ban?  

A total fire ban means no fires out in the open to prevent a potential blaze from starting. 

You cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open or carry out any activity outdoors likely to cause a blaze. 

Can I use a barbecue or pizza oven?

Using a barbecue or pizza oven which burns solid fuel such as wood, charcoal or heat beads is banned. 

Permits are suspended during the ban but can be used after the restriction is lifted. 

What barbecues are allowed to be used?

You can use an electric barbecue given there is adult supervision and no combustible material within two metres. 

You can use a gas barbecue under the following conditions: 

– Adult supervision

– No combustible material within two metres

– Immediate and continuous supply of water 

– Used within 20 metres of a private dwelling such as a home 

– Is within a designated picnic area and is approved by the council, national parks of state forest 

What are the penalties? 

Persons lighting a fire can incur an on the spot fine of $2,200. 

If the matter is taken to court, they could face 12 years in jail and/or a $5,500 fine. 

A fire started which spreads, hurts a person or damages property or the environment can lead to a $132,000 fine and/or 14 months in jail. 

What are the exemptions during a Total Fire Ban? 

A range of activities may be exempt during the ban such as emergency infrastructure work, bee hive smokers, mining operations, sugar can harvesting, use of fire works or ceremonial fires. 

The exemptions are datailed in the NSW Government Gazette every time a Total Fire Ban is declared.  

Can I apply for a Total Fire Ban exemption? 

If you want to light a fire or carry out an activity which could lead to one, you can check the Government Gazette to see if there is a standard exemption that applies to your situation. 

If the standard exemptions don’t cover your circumstances then you may apply for a specific exemption by filling out a Total Fire Ban application form. 

You will be notified if your application is approved or declined.  

 

Source: NSW Rural Fire Service 

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Twenty firefighters injured as NSW burns

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Doctors and paramedics on the ground have treated more than 100 people hurt during NSW’s devastating bushfires, 20 of them firefighters injured trying to protect communities.

NSW on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for seven days, with the danger considered “catastrophic” for the Greater Sydney and Hunter regions and “severe and extreme” across large tracts of the rest of the state.

NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan is considering bringing in extra resources from interstate.

“Over the last few days our doctors and paramedics have been exceedingly busy; they’ve treated over 100 patients for fire-related activity,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

“We had a whole range of things that have been confirmed from very severe burns, sadly resulting in a loss of life in some instances, right down to minor injuries and minor burns.”

Mr Morgan paid tribute to the firefighters his teams had treated who were injured in the line of duty.

“That’s something that we should all be recognising,” he said.

“Up to 20 (of the people treated) have been directly related to firefighters being injured while protecting their own communities.”

Mr Morgan said 30 additional ambulance crews would be deployed across the state to ensure additional protection as well as extra air assets.

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NSW village endures ‘apocalyptic’ fire

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Residents thought they were going to die huddled in their small NSW community’s fire station during an “apocalyptic” bushfire that sounded like a freight train and rained down embers and soot.

The Northern Tablelands village of Torrington, population 81, lost a dozen homes on Friday as the worst fire in living memory engulfed the town.

While some residents fled early on Friday, Linda Birch was among those to take refuge in the town’s metal fire station.

Smoke soon crept under the doors of the shed as embers bombarded the vents.

“It wasn’t a bushfire, it was a firestorm,” she told AAP.

“The ferocity of this storm was that immense that we needed to put masks on within the shed as well.”

Ms Birch admitted she thought she was going to die, describing the situation as “apocalyptic”.

Outside, the volunteer firefighters who were barely able to see a few feet ahead of themselves watered down the shed and hoped it survived.

“The sound was like a freight train, we couldn’t hear ourselves, we couldn’t talk, we just reacted,” Ms Birch said.

“We weren’t sure if anyone survived outside. My husband and Leigh’s husband were outside.”

Jennette Styles said Victorian firefighters managed to save the community hall – “the hub of our village” – but homes dating back to the early 20th century and their contents had been lost.

“Our heritage, our history is just disappearing,” she told AAP.

“It’s an amazing village because we have beautiful people here and we care about each other.

“We pull together, but we need someone to come out and talk to these people who have lost houses.There are people who aren’t insured or don’t own the property or who have lost $85,000 sheds.”

The volunteer firefighters continued fighting the blaze over the weekend, saving Geoff Hilton’s home and shed just in time.

“How close do you want it to be?” he says, looking at scorched earth forming a ring around his shed.

Torrington RFS captain Greg Kneipp and his deputy, his dad Bob, have been battling the blaze since it began two weeks ago, with a few days rest in between.

They were thankful for the support of out-of-town and interstate crews, aerial water bombing and those carting water to the station to fill the trucks.

“This would be the worst fire and I’m 47 years in the RFS. This would be it by far and only because of the dry conditions is it so bad,” Bob Kneipp told AAP.

He said the camaraderie of the fire crew was one of the reasons he stayed in the RFS but has noticed young people are less likely to sign up.

“We’re a big happy family,” he said.

“Even when the strike teams come in … within a couple of days, we know every one of them.”

NSW on Monday declared a state of emergency for seven days as bushfires continued to rage across the state.

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State of emergency declared for NSW

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NSW has declared a state of emergency for seven days starting immediately as bushfires rage across the state.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott warned residents were facing what “could be the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen”.

The NSW fires have claimed three lives and so far destroyed more than 150 homes.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the last time a state of emergency was declared in the state was 2013 when there were extensive bushfires in the Blue Mountains.

Ms Berejiklian warned people to “for heaven’s sake, stay away from bushland” on Tuesday.

“The catastrophic weather conditions mean that things can change very quickly,” she told reporters on Monday.

“You might think you’re OK and a few minutes later you won’t be. Please heed all the messages you receive. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is not the day to be complacent.”

Mr Elliott said the state of emergency was precautionary but necessary.

“We have tools like state of emergency available to us to ensure there is no legal barrier, there are no operational barriers, to ensure that the people of the Rural Fire Service (can) do what they’re meant to do,” the minister said.

There are currently 60 fires burning across NSW with more than half uncontained.

“Catastrophic is off the conventional scale,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“We are talking about indices that go well beyond the old scale of 100.”

The blazes are raging from the northern border with Queensland down to the mid-north coast, out to the state’s central west and south toward the Illawarra.

Catastrophic fire danger has been declared for the Sydney and Hunter regions on Tuesday with severe and extreme danger across vast tracts of the rest of the state.

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