Is this Kaitaia prop­erty a fire risk?

Veg­e­ta­tion fire call­outs

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Kaitaia woman Coral Corn­wall is so con­cerned at the fire risk posed by an over­grown neigh­bour­ing prop­erty, she wor­ries when she sees peo­ple smok­ing cig­a­rettes as they walk past.

But a prin­ci­pal ru­ral fire of­fi­cer said a prop­erty with long grass and a derelict house was not nec­es­sar­ily a fire risk.

Mrs Corn­wall said she had re­ported her con­cerns to the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil a num­ber of times, and to coun­cil­lor Colin Kitchen, who was also a se­nior mem­ber of the Kaitaia Fire Bri­gade.

Mr Kitchen shared Mrs Corn­wall’s view that the prop­erty on Far­ri­mond Place was a dis­tinct fire risk.

“I went around to have a look. It’s over­grown to hell and there’s an old house,” he said.

“There could be squat­ters in there — that’s my big, big con­cern.”

Mr Kitchen said he was dis­ap­pointed the coun­cil had not re­sponded but he hoped fire of­fi­cers would as­sess the prop­erty.

“My pro­fes­sional opin­ion is that some­thing’s got to be done about it.”

How­ever, re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­mov­ing fire haz­ards shifted to Fire and Emer­gency NZ when it was formed last year.

Prin­ci­pal ru­ral fire of­fi­cer Myles Tay­lor ad­mit­ted Fire and Emer­gency had a back­log of re­quests about po­ten­tial fire haz­ards. A con­trac­tor was start­ing next week to as­sess the ap­pli­ca­tions.

If a prop­erty was found to be a fire haz­ard, Fire and Emer­gency could com­pel a landowner to re­duce the risk, such as mow­ing a strip of grass around the prop­erty’s bor­der.

But Mr Tay­lor said the thresh­old for what con­sti­tutes a fire risk was very high and it was a com­plex is­sue.

“It in­cludes the op­por­tu­nity for loss of life or loss of prop­erty; the like­li­hood of ig­ni­tion,” he said. “A sec­tion full of long A num­ber of blazes were re­ported on Tues­day last week, in­clud­ing a grass fire that threat­ened pine trees and a large area of forestry slash near Rawene.

Rawene’s Chief Fire Of­fi­cer, Nopera Pikari, said a crew was dis­patched to Wharekawa Rd about mid­day.

The cause of the fire was not clear. Mean­while two crews from Kerik­eri were called to a veg­e­ta­tion fire at Bulls Gorge, on SH10 south of Kerik­eri, about 3pm last Tues­day. Fire Safety Of­fi­cer Michael Champ­taloup said the blaze could have been sparked by dry kikuyu mak­ing con­tact with an elec­tric fence.

grass does not nec­es­sar­ily con­sti­tute a fire haz­ard.”

The fact Kaitaia Fire Bri­gade was close to the Far­ri­mond Place prop­erty made it less of a haz­ard, he said. The be­nign weather con­di­tions also lessoned the risk.

Mrs Corn­wall said the house had been empty for a con­sid­er­able time.

Neigh­bours of the Far­ri­mond Place prop­erty be­lieve it is a fire risk.

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