Always — ALWAYS check it’s all right
Rural burnoffs haven’t been too much of a problem in the Far North so far this summer, but rubbish fires have, and with no sign of the rising fire risk easing, Fire and Emergency New Zealand is urging everyone to think twice before striking a match.
Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer Wayne Martin said the best advice he could give was to go to Fire and Emergency’s www.checkitsalright.co.nz to check their local fire status, and whether or not they needed a (free) fire permit — go to www.checkitsalright.nz to get one online, or phone 0800 658-628.
A restricted fire season currently applies throughout the Far North, meaning permits are needed for all outdoor fires.
Mr Martin said fire crews had dealt with the results of two unpermitted rubbish fires that had “got away” recently, one of them at Taemaro Bay, which put 10 houses at risk, on January 5. Crews from Taupo Bay and Mangonui arrived in time to prevent a major calamity, but might not be able to do so if there was a next time.
“With the conditions at the moment, particularly since Christmas — we haven’t had any rain and we’ve had high temperatures and afternoon winds — Northland is drying out,” he said.
“People need to start being more vigilant around getting permits, and question whether they really need to be burning rubbish at this time of year.”
The MetService was predicting a hot, dry January, which was a concern. A wet spring had promoted a lot of vegetation growth, and long grass is now starting to dry out and become a fire hazard.
“The chances of a fastmoving fire in grass and scrub is starting to rise,” he said, adding that people should be keeping lawns mowed and paddocks topped.
Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer Wayne Martin — do you really need to burn rubbish in conditions like these?