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“The move to a restricted fire season is a result of the climatic conditions over the past few weeks,” says Waikato District Council’s principal rural fire officer, Gordon Bailey.
“We’ve had limited rain with high temperatures across the district and this contributes to a rapid increase in fire-weather danger levels.
Conditions create high risk of fires spreading
“With these conditions there is a risk of fires spreading particularly if we have strong winds – they can make fire behaviour extremely unpredictable.”
He says that, anyone lighting fires must do so in a responsible manner, ensuring they’re safe, will not spread or cause any smoke nuisance to neighbours or nearby road users.
“It’s timely to remind people that any costs incurred to extinguish fires must be covered by the person responsible for lighting a fire or the landowner,” he adds.
Other areas of concern
Gordon Bailey notes that the public should be aware of other areas of concern, namely: Restrictions already exist within urban areas, and areas managed by the Department of Conservation; Gas barbecues or similar outdoor gas appliances do not require a Fire Permit; Permitted burning is not allowed after dark; Fire Restrictions apply all year round for the Mangatawhiri swamp area between SH 2 and the Maramarua River and all Department of Conservation land; A year round total fire ban is in force for Waiuku Forest.
Applications for fire permits
Applications for fire permits can be made by contacting Waikato District Council on 0800 492 452, or by downloading an application form online at www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz.
Auckland’s fire restrictions already in place
A restricted fire season for rural areas in the Auckland region was implemented on December 15, 2014.
The Auckland Council issued an Outdoor Fire Safety Bylaw on December 20, which they say, will manage the risk of outdoor fires in rural and urban areas.
The bylaw will continue with seasonal restrictions but also gives guidance on the types of fire and fuel allowed with an aim to protect people, property and the environment from the risk of fire.
For more information on fire safety call Auckland Council on 09 301 0101 or go online to auckland council/ruralfire.govt.nz
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