Council urges people to check fires are out completely

Ashburton District Council is urging people to always check their fires are out completely, especially while high winds are being experienced.

Mid Canterbury Principal Rural Fire Officer Don Geddes says he is concerned about the number of fires that have reignited in the recent high winds which people have thought are out. 

"There has been insufficient care when it comes to ensuring fires are out resulting in local volunteer firefighters attending many unnecessary and avoidable fires in the last two weeks. 

"Since the beginning of this month firefighters have attended more than 20 vegetation fire callouts - approximately three quarters of which have been the result of reignitions.

"People need to check that their fires are completely out at all times. Even if smoke isn't visible, reignitions can still be occurring.  The only way to ensure a fire is out completely is either to bury the residue or pull the residue heaps apart and thoroughly wet down any remaining unburnt material.

"Although there aren't any fire restrictions in place in the district yet, people need to apply common sense and caution when conducting outdoor burning," says Mr Geddes.  

Fire restrictions may need to be implemented earlier this year if the current weather patterns continue.

"If people have material that needs to be burnt we're encouraging them to do it carefully, and sooner rather than later, as conditions are only going to get dryer in the coming months.  With a strong El Nino being predicted for the summer months we can expect the warmer windy conditions to continue.  Our  advice is to get any burning completed before those really hot temperatures kick in, to do so with extreme caution, and to ensure the fires are out properly.

"People also need to remember that the cost of suppression and also any fire damage they cause lies squarely on their shoulders – including damage done to other people's properties," says Mr Geddes.

Page reviewed: 18 Nov 2015 9:26am