News from Wellington City Council
A total ban on outdoor fires – gas barbecues excepted – was imposed from 8am today in the Wellington region. It is the first time in ten years that such a comprehensive ban has been imposed.
Like much of the rest of the country, the Wellington region is tinder-dry after weeks of hot weather and a serious lack of rainfall.
Rachael Thorp, Chair of the Greater Wellington Rural Fire Co-ordinating Committee, says fire-risk conditions have now elevated to an “extreme” point where local councils and the Department Of Conservation have had to impose the ban.
The ban covers all territory in Wellington City, Hutt City, Upper Hutt City, Porirua City and the Kapiti Coast District. It includes all land administered by the Department of Conservation.
“Our fantastic summer weather has pushed the fire danger up to a point where fires will start easily, spread fast and be very hard to stop,” says Ms Thorp.
“We are asking that people do not light fires and in addition avoid hot outdoor work such as grinding and welding, and use of motorised equipment such as mowers, chainsaws and scrub bars during the afternoon when the temperatures are at their peak.”
All fires in the open are now banned. This includes cooking fires such as hangi, umu and braai, incinerators, solid fuel barbecues, camp fires, beach fires and fireworks.
People breaching the ban will be liable on conviction to six months’ imprisonment and a $2000 fine.
All fire permits previously issued are suspended until further notice.
“People must be extra vigilant during this period. Any fires in the open, or smoke seen should be reported as soon as possible,” says Ms Thorp.
The prohibited fire season will remain in place until there is a decent period of rainfall and the fire danger passes.
News from Horizons Regional Council
A total fire ban has been declared for the Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua districts will take effect from midnight Friday.
It prohibits the lighting of any fires, with the exception of gas-fuelled barbeques lit in properly constructed containers, and will remain in place until further notice.
Deputy principal rural fire officer for the Rangitikei, Manawatu and Horowhenua districts Tony Groome says the ban is the result of a prolonged dry spell and overrules any permits issued previously.
“With this hot weather and dry landscape there is potential for a fire to get out of control very quickly and we encourage the public to call 111 if they do see smoke or anything suspicious,” Mr Groome says.
Further public enquiries can be made to:
• Rangitikei District Council – (06) 327 0099
• Manawatu District Council – (06) 323 0000
• Horowhenua District Council – (06) 366 0999
• Department of Conservation – (04) 471 0726