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Restricted Fire Season for the Waikato

14 January 2013

Restricted Fire Season for the Waikato

A restricted fire season will be introduced for the rural areas of the Waikato district from Thursday 17 January 2013. Restrictions already exist within urban areas and areas managed by the Department of Conservation.

A restricted fire season requires permits to be obtained from the Waikato District Council for all fires in the open air with the exception of barbecues, hangis, brazier type fires and fires within a properly constructed incinerator fitted with a lid or mesh spark arrestor to stop embers.

Applications for permits can be made by contacting one of the Waikato District Council offices.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Andy Baker said the introduction of the restricted fire season is the result of the climatic conditions, with little rain and high temperatures contributing to a rapid increase in fire weather danger levels.

“Currently we are particularly concerned about the strong winds which can make fire behaviour extremely unpredictable.

“An open fire season has been in place for some months and we hope those needing to burn large piles have done so in that period, removing the need to burn now when the fire danger is higher.

“The main concern is the risk of fires spreading which is heightened by the dry condition of fuels and strong wind. In areas of peat soils, fires can become deep seated and difficult to extinguish,” he said.

Mr Baker said people must light fires in a responsible manner, ensuring they are safe, will not spread or cause any smoke nuisance to neighbours or nearby road users. He recommends:
• Have water available
• Monitor the fire
• Be sure it is out
• Don’t leave the fire to burn overnight

Suppression and other costs may be borne by the person responsible for lighting a fire or the landowner so care must be taken.

ENDS

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