Open fire season from May 1

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An open fire season will apply in the Waikato district from May 1.

An open fire season means that permits will not be required unless the fire is within a Department of Conservation area or within a one kilometre safety margin around such an area.

Water restrictions have also been lifted in the district.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Andy Baker reminds landowners and those lighting fires that ultimately they are responsible by law to ensure that the fire is safe, controllable and monitored to ensure it does not spread.

The cost of fighting fires lies with the landowner or person responsible for the fire so Baker urges people to treat fire with respect and use the open season as a time to carry out safe burns to reduce the need for fires during the summer.

“This past summer has been challenging with the extreme fire danger resulting in a fire ban and extended restricted fire season but in general there was fantastic compliance by the public,” Baker said.

Further information about rural fires can be obtained here on the council’s website.

Water pressure eases

Recent rainfall and a sustained decrease in the amount of water being consumed in the Waikato district allowed the area’s water restrictions to be removed today.

Acting Service Delivery General Manager Stephen Cox said the wet weather had helped trigger the removal of the water restrictions but residents had also made a considerable effort to reduce their water use.

“We are pleased to see that residents are making changes to the way they view and use water. This year in particular with the drought, it has raised the awareness of water being a limited and precious resource, and highlighted the necessity of taking appropriate steps to reduce our usage wherever possible.”

Cox thanked residents for abiding by the water restrictions, which came into effect in November 2012, and encouraged people to continue to use water wisely.

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