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Permits needed for all but gas fires in Gisborne district

8 April 2013

Permits needed for all but gas fires

The total fire ban for the Gisborne district will be lifted at 8am on Wednesday (10 April 2013) but a restricted fire season is still in place. Recent rain has helped the situation but the district is still dry, says principal rural fire officer René Londeman.

A restricted fire season means a permit from the Gisborne District Council is needed before any fires can be lit. This applies to hangis and umus. Only gas barbecues and gas cookers are exempt.

If people light a fire without a permit they face fines of up to $2000.

“By issuing a permit we have a record of where fires will be lit and can make sure that the conditions are right so that it can burn safely,” Mr Londeman said.

“Those who light fires in the open are responsible for making sure the fires are safe and do not spread. Even if you light a fire with a permit or use a gas barbecue, it’s still your responsibility if it gets out of hand. You will be charged for all costs associated with extinguishing the fire. This could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

“Fires should never be lit when conditions are windy, or strong winds are forecast,” he said. “In these conditions a small fire can spread very rapidly. In isolated parts of the district, an awful lot of damage occurs while waiting for help to arrive.”

Issuing a permit is not automatic it depends on whether the fire can burn safely. Gisborne District Council acting as a Rural Fire Authority issues permits. It can take up to three days to check applications, particularly if a site inspection is required. Permits can be applied for on the Council’s website www.gdc.govt.nz or from Customer Service in Fitzherbert Street or Te Puia Springs.

ENDS

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