Fire bans in place for reason

A GRASS fire at Toongi believed to have been started by a motorbike in long grass has prompted a reminder about the dangers of operating machinery on hot, dry days.

Twenty-six Rural Fire Service (RFS) personnel in six tankers were called to the property just before 10am yesterday to put out a blaze which burnt through six-and-a-half hectares of scrub. No people or stock were injured.

RFS Orana Inspector Patrick Westwood said the incident was also a timely reminder for landowners to remember stock when preparing their bushfire safety plans.

He said thousands of head of stock had been lost in fires around NSW in the past few days, and landholders needed to be on high alert with the hot and windy conditions expected in the region today.

Yesterday, the RFS announced a fire burning at Auscott Trangie Cotton Gin has been contained but could continue to burn for some time.

Inspector Westwood said the fire started by lightning at the Trangie Auscott Cotton Gin on December 23 continued to burn and smoulder through six large discarded cotton trash piles located at the rear of the gin.

Auscott had worked with the RFS for the past three weeks to contain the fire.

"It is burning amongst cotton trash that is very hard to extinguish, the best we can do is separate it and assist it to self-extinguish," Auscott general manager Bill Tyrwhitt said.

Inspector Westwood said the fire was in a very clear area with up to 200 metre bare earth breaks around the piles.

"We are confident with adequate patrol by the gin staff that we can address the threat of escape," he said.

"The amount of water required to fully extinguish this fire would be incredible, and would only lengthen the process of extinguishment."

In a separate incident, a Wongarbon man was fined for lighting a fire during Wednesday's statewide total fire ban.

Dubbo police and Wongarbon Rural Fire Service (RFS) personnel were called to a fire at the back of a Umangla Street premises about 9.50pm on Wednesday.

When they arrived, firefighters put out a small fire burning in a pile of rubbish.

A spokesperson for Orana Local Area Command said the 26-year-old occupant of the premises told police he had been unaware of the fire ban in place. He was issued with an $1100 infringement notice for failing to comply with the minister's total fire ban period direction.

The incident has prompted a reminder from police about the dangers of lighting fires during a total fire ban period, and that anyone caught doing it will be investigated and fines or harsher penalties may apply.

Earlier in the day, several Dubbo residents raised concerns about groups of children seen lighting fires in parts of the city.

One contributor to the Facebook site Dubbo Crime Reports said she had put out a fire in the front yard of an O'Donnell Street house that had been lit by a group of five boys on Wednesday.

Further west, emergency services were called to a fire at the Warren tip on Wednesday after a man depositing rubbish noticed flames.

The fire spread into the surrounding area, with the adjoining Oxley Highway closed for a short time because smoke affected visibility for drivers.

Personnel from the RFS and Warren Shire Council extinguished it.

Meanwhile, a fire alarm alerted emergency services to a small grass fire at the old train station building in Anson Street, Bourke in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Police officers used a hose to fight the blaze until NSW Fire and Rescue personnel arrived and extinguished it.

There was no damage to property but authorities believe the fire was deliberately lit.

The statewide total fire ban continues today.

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