Fire permits needed


Everyone lighting fires in the open air will need fire permits from December 19.

That’s when a restricted fire season begins in the Waikato district, and permits needs to be obtained from the Waikato District Council.

Fire permits will be needed for all fires in the open air except for fires in gas-fueled barbecues or similar outdoor gas appliances.

Fires must not be left unattended until completely extinguished and must not be lit in windy conditions or close to flammable material or buildings.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Gordon Bailey said the introduction of the restricted fire season comes because of the predicted El Nino weather pattern, which brings little rain and high temperatures contributing to a rapid increase in fire weather danger levels.

“An open fire season has been in place since March and we hope those needing to burn large piles of rubbish have done so in that period, removing the need to burn now when the fire danger is higher.

“The main concern is the risk of fires spreading which is heightened by the dry condition of fuels and strong wind. In areas of peat soils, fires can become deep seated and difficult to extinguish,” he said.

Bailey said if people were granted a fire permit they must light fires in a safe and responsible manner ensuring they don’t spread or cause any smoke nuisance to neighbours or nearby road users.

He recommends:
• Have water available
• Monitor the fire
• Be sure it is out
• Don’t leave the fire to burn overnight
• Consider alternative methods of disposal other than burning
• If it doesn’t need to be burnt now, wait until weather conditions are more suitable.

The cost of fighting fires that get out of control are borne by by the person responsible for lighting it or the landowner.

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