Al­ways — AL­WAYS check it’s all right

The Northland Age - - Local News -

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.

PIC­TURE / JOHN STONE

Deputy Prin­ci­pal Ru­ral Fire Of­fi­cer Wayne Martin — do you re­ally need to burn rub­bish in con­di­tions like these?

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