Fire and Emergency New Zealand is encouraging people in Hawke’s Bay to take extra care when burning rubbish or slash piles.
December saw a spike in vegetation fires in the District, with 23 attended, up from nine in November.
The primary cause of these fires was people burning. Nine were caused by out-of-control rubbish fires and three were started by slash pile burns.
Fire and Emergency Hawke’s Bay Community Risk Manager Nigel Hall says while the triggers have not been met for entering a restricted fire season (where a permit is needed for any open-air fire), there is cause for concern this week with hot, windy conditions forecast.
“From Thursday to Sunday, temperatures will be in the mid-20s, and it will be windy for coastal areas,” he says.
“We have particular concern for the areas of Wanstead, Takapau, Cape Turnagain, Akitio and Waione.
“In these conditions grass and scrub are easily ignited, and fires will spread rapidly and be difficult to control.”
Nigel Hall says people should consider not lighting burn piles, rubbish pits or other land clearance fires this week.
“If you must light a fire, do not light more than one fire at a time. Wait for it burn out and then dampen down the burn area. Make sure the fire is fully extinguished.
“Monitor old burn sites regularly for reignition, especially in coastal areas.
“Consider not cutting paddocks for hay or topping in hot dry and windy conditions and make sure machinery is clear of a build-up of ignitable materials.”
Before you burn, please go to www.checkitalright.nz to check it is safe to light where you are.