From Andrew Page in the Radio Snowy Mountains Newsroom:
Tough new penalties will empower the NSW Police Force and the Rural Fire Service to bring those who deliberately and recklessly disrespect total fire ban warnings before the courts.
The NSW Parliament has passed the Rural Fire Amendment Bill 2014.
Under the new laws, offenders will face fines of up to $132,000 and up to 7 years jail time.
A difficult fire season ahead is predicted.
District Technical Officer with the Monaro Rural Fire Service Alish Pope said, while most people want to do the right thing, fire permits are now required.
“People are required at this time of year to have a permit and provide 24 hours notice to the fire control centre and to their neighbours that they are intending to burn,” Ms Pope said.
“They are also required to ensure that the fire does not escape their property,” she said.
“People just need to be aware, although we want them to undertake hazard reduction and we're happy for people to burn, they need to know the rules”.