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Councils Urged To Shut Roads As Fire Risk Grows

Councils Urged To Shut Roads As Fire Risk Grows

Monday 22 Dec 2003 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural -- ACT Rural Website

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today urged South Island regional councils to implement contingency plans to close public roads that access to the high country, due to the extremely dry conditions.

"Even land at 700 metres above sea level is becoming tinder dry, which only needs one spark from an exhaust system to ignite hundreds of thousands of acres," Mr Eckhoff said.

After weaning - which will occur over the next few weeks - sheep are taken up into the high-altitude grasslands for the summer. A fire through these tussock grasslands at this time of the year would devastate the vegetation - as well as burning to death upwards of a million stock units that graze in this area.

"Prudence demands that councils close access to these areas, should substantial rain not occur within the next few days," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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