New South Wales Police have warned that people risk being fined more than $2000 if they are caught illegally using fireworks during the total fire ban period this New Year’s Eve.
With a very high to extreme fire danger forecast across parts of NSW, a total fire ban has been declared in 11 areas:
• Greater Hunter
• Greater Sydney Region
• Far South Coast
• Monaro Alpine
• Southern Ranges
• Central Ranges
• Northern Slopes
• North Western
• Southern Slopes
• Eastern Riverina.
Due to the total fire ban anyone wishing to use fireworks, in those areas, is required to apply to the Rural Fire Service for an exemption.
State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, said only those licensed – and who have been granted an exemption from the total fire ban rules – may use fireworks in NSW.
“I want to send a very clear message to those members of the general public who are thinking of setting off fireworks today: if you have not been granted an exemption you can expect to be dealt with under the full force of the law.
“That means you will be issued with an on-the-spot fine of $2200, or if the matter goes to court you could receive a court-imposed penalty of up to $5500 and/or up to 12 months gaol.
“Using fireworks should be left to the professionals as they are dangerous and can cause significant injury or even death.
“Police want everyone to enjoy New Year’s Eve festivities but to celebrate with safety mind, and to comply with the total fire ban,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
NSW Police also reminds people not to use marine flares unlawfully: flares are emergency warning signals, designed for a specific purpose. Anyone caught using a distress signal/marine flare without a legitimate purpose can receive an on-the-spot fine of $1000.
Additionally, the penalty for disposing of cigarette butts illegally is doubled during a total fire ban, so those caught will be liable for a fine $1320.
Police are appealing for anyone who witnesses another person using fireworks, or conducting illegal activities during the total fire ban period, to contact their local police or the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Call Triple Zero (000) if it’s an emergency.
For additional information about the rules relating to total fire bans see https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fdr-and-tobans/total-fire-ban-rules