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Restricted Fire Season for Whangarei and Kaipara Districts

Restricted Fire Season for Whangarei and Kaipara Districts

17 January 2013

A Restricted Fire Season will be announced for the Whangarei and Kaipara Districts tomorrow (Friday 18 January 2013) and strict rules including the requirement for permits will be in force.

“The current and predicted weather conditions indicate that fire danger will continue to increase over the next few weeks so extra care is needed to ensure our community is safe from wildfires,” said Whangarei’s Principal Rural Fire Officer Kevin Ihaka.

“The risk of fires getting out of control is far greater on days with high winds, so with the predicted dry conditions these windy days will mean unpredictable and dangerous fire conditions.

“An increase in the wind speed of just 10 kph will double the intensity and rate of spread of a fire, quickly making fires uncontrollable. This seems to be something that people often underestimate.

“We will not be issuing permits for fires that can be reasonably delayed until the fire risk reduces or if the task can be achieved by a method other than fire. The risk is simply not worth it,” Mr Ihaka said.

The restriction applies to all open fires including fireworks, rubbish fires, bush clearing fires, bonfires (including fires on beaches), and it puts conditions on the use of barbecues, spits, hangi and umu.

“People using commercially constructed barbeques, incinerators (complying with NZS 5262, 5435 and 5442), cooking fires such as umu, hangi and spit fires must make sure that:

They are supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
A pressurised supply of water is at hand.
The fire is extinguished as soon as the task is complete.
A clear area of at least 10 metres is maintained around the fire.
The fire is no larger than 2 x 2 metres.
A warranted fire officer can request that any barbecue, incinerator or other fire be extinguished if considered a danger.

“Anyone responsible for a fire that gets out of control will be held accountable for the cost of that fire; this can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Anyone breaching the rules will get very little sympathy as needless fire fighting not only costs ratepayers, but takes up volunteer time and puts lives at risk. Information about current fire danger, safety advice, and online permit applications can be found at www.havingafire.org.nz, we encourage everyone to make this their first stop for all information relating to fire,” said Mr Ihaka.


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