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Minister urges fire caution for dry summer

7 January 2008 Media Release

Minister urges fire caution for extremely dry summer

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick is today urging all New Zealanders to be extra careful to reduce the risk of fire on public conservation land during the summer months.

“Fires pose a serious threat to our stunning native environment, including unique New Zealand plants and animals, and we all have a part to play to reduce the risks.

“Every year, fires on conservation land can result from simple carelessness. This can cost the Department of Conservation (DOC) valuable time responding to them, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs.

“This year we’ve had a particularly dry summer, and everyone needs to be extra careful and respect all fire bans. Remember to take care when throwing away cigarette butts or glass, to prevent fires starting accidentally.

“The damage to hundreds of hectares of peat swamp in the Chatham Islands in December last year was a firm reminder of the risks, and highlights the need to stay vigilant and if you see a fire, call 111 to report it immediately.

“If you’re thinking of lighting a fire, check with your local fire authority for fire bans in the area. Also, if it’s within a kilometre of a DOC reserve, make sure to contact the Department’s local office to get a permit first.”

ENDS

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