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Suspected rural arson ‘reckless and dangerous’

Federated Farmers is calling on all farmers to be extra vigilant with an outbreak of suspected arson in Mid-Canterbury.

“If this is arson, then the perpetrators are foolish in the extreme and should face the full weight of the law if they are caught,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury Grain and Seed chairperson.

“Not only is it wanton destruction of feed and shelter that our animals will need, but someone could be die as a consequence. If there is a road accident or a house fire, then our rural fire fighters will be in the wrong place needlessly fighting deliberately lit fires.

“Conditions are such that a fire can quickly spread so farmers are encouraged to organise their own fire suppression equipment. A ute or trailer fitted with one or two 1,000 litre totes and a pump means you may be able to extinguish a fire before it takes hold.

“We are also calling on all farmers to be extra vigilant of suspicious vehicles and activity, especially at dusk and at night.

“If possible, please take down a description and number plate and ring it through to the Police if you hear of fire in the vicinity.

“Given it is suspected arson there is a risk of copycats. Federated Farmers is recommending that farmers relocate bales of hay away from roads and access points. At least that will make it more difficult for an arsonist to do damage.

“Federated Farmers reminds farmers that the burning of stubble and agricultural residues at night contravenes the code of conduct that we have with Ashburton District Council.

“If this is arson, we do not understand how someone could derive pleasure from such a reckless and dangerous act. If you know or suspect someone is a firebug, then please let the Police know because they are putting lives at risk.

“In the meantime, farmers need to be the eyes and ears of the emergency services,” Mr Clark concluded.

ENDS

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