Careless cooking can create inferno
The aromas of meat cooking over hot coals is one of the joys of summer but for now barbecue enthusiasts are being asked to stick to conventional cooking methods.
Auckland is tinder dry and the council is appealing to park users to take special care when heading to the beach or their favourite spot during these parched conditions.
Solid fuel barbecues – which burn coal and wood – are not allowed under the total fire ban that applies to the Auckland region.
This includes portable solid-fuel barbecues, any wood or coalfired barbecues found in parks and disposable packs that can be bought from supermarkets or hardware stores.
Auckland Council parks, sports and recreation acting manager Mace Ward says despite the council issuing a total fire ban, staff are still finding people lighting solid fuel barbecues and open fires in the region’s parks.
‘‘It only takes a single spark or ember to start a serious fire in grass or bush-clad parks,’’ Mr Ward says.
and beachfront parks are particularly dry, yet some visitors are not thinking about the impact their careless actions might have.
‘‘We are asking all park visitors to leave their coal and woodfired barbecues at home and either bring alternative picnic foods or use the gas or electric barbecues provided,’’ he says.
‘‘As we have seen on Great Barrier Island and around the country, outdoor fires can quickly take off and cause major damage.
‘‘We do not want to see any of our region’s parkland threatened by fire or any of our visitors, livestock or wildlife put in danger.’’
All solid fuel barbecues in parks have been decommissioned and council-supplied firewood has been removed.
Fire ban signs have been installed across the parks network.
‘‘Rangers have also reported some incidents of fireworks being used on or near parks. These contribute to the fire risk and are also prohibited,’’ Mr Ward says.
The fire ban covers all fires in the open air including rubbish fires, bonfires, backyard braziers, fireworks and cooking fires.
The ban will remain in place until the fire danger is no longer classed as elevated.
It is believed fireworks were responsible for the blaze that left a 200sqm scar in the crater of Mt Eden.
If you see people using solid fuel barbecues or lighting open fires in councilmanaged parks, please report to a ranger or contact the council on 301 0101.
In an emergency, dial 111 immediately.
Safe cooking: Auckland Council is keen to avoid scenes like this from Great Barrier Island breaking out elsewhere in the region and is urging people to observe the total fire banthat is in place.