There has been a massive increase in the number of volunteer bushfire fighters in Alice Springs.
"Vollies" captain Shawn O'Toole says until earlier this year there were about five or six volunteers. Now there are about 40, taking part in training.
Meanwhile warmer weather and winds are creating dangerous fire conditions although Grant Allan, of Bushfires NT, says close to three quarters of the town's periphery are secure now because recent blazes have already consumed the extraordinarily high fuel load there.
And the Department of Lands and Planning says it will not prosecute for a loading infringement of a truck driver taking a grader to a blaze north of town to stop a fire advancing towards buildings in a quarry.
The department has not yet responded to questions from Alice Springs News Online about any liability the government may have for fires starting along roads it has responsibility for, and that may enter pastoral land, causing losses of fodder, man-hours fighting the fires and expenses for the use of graders and possible damage to them.
Members of the Hayes pastoral family say of the multitude of fires they had to fight this year, all but one had come from public roads. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Picturedgetting the low-down from Shawn O'Toole (second from left) on the pump mounted on an "operational vehicle" are "vollies" (from left) Diane Chanut, Wayne Phillips, Alan Leahy, Katherine Hastie and Nikolas Sestokas.