$200,000 bill to bat­tle area’s out of con­trol fires

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

Fire and Emergency NZ has spent more than $200,000 in just two weeks fight­ing out-of-con­trol fires in North­land that also threat­ened prop­er­ties.

The rev­e­la­tion was made by North­land’s prin­ci­pal ru­ral fire of­fi­cer Myles Tay­lor as a re­stricted fire sea­son came into force for all North­land from 6am on Satur­day, which means peo­ple will need a per­mit to light fires.

There are ex­cep­tions such as hangi, umu and bar­be­cue fires.

Re­cent rain has not helped con­di­tions and with hot weather pre­dicted head­ing into the fes­tive sea­son, Tay­lor said peo­ple needed a per­mit and should ex­er­cise cau­tion while light­ing fires.

“There are many ex­am­ples of fires get­ting out of con­trol re­cently. We’ve spent over $200,000 on out-of-con­trol burns in the first two weeks of Novem­ber alone, mostly in the Far North.

“Most, if not all, those burns were as a re­sult of peo­ple not pay­ing at­ten­tion and leav­ing the fires burn­ing, think­ing it’s safe to leave them unat­tended. Sev­eral houses were threat­ened as well.

“It’s a to­tal waste of pub­lic money and we’d urge peo­ple to act re­spon­si­bly. The next level up is a pro­hib­ited fire sea­son.”

Tay­lor said an end date and time for the re­stricted fire sea­son would de­pend on weather con­di­tions.

“Wind is our worst en­emy in North­land be­cause it dries things very quickly. We’ve had some rain but that hasn’t im­proved con­di­tions,” he said.

Visit www.check­it­sal­right.nz to ob­tain a per­mit, for ad­vice on the cur­rent fire sta­tus and tips on safe fires.

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