Fire permits needed

by Mike Isle

Selwyn District is in the throes of a restricted fire season. Anyone needing to light a fire outside in the district will need to first obtain a permit from Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Fire season status is based on weather data collected and computed from 20 weather stations in Selwyn. The data provide information on the potential of a fire spreading and how difficult it may be to suppress.

“We normally have to put fire restrictions in place at the start of the summer, but the unusually wet spring meant that at the start of this summer the fire risk was very low so there was no need for restrictions,’’ said Fire and Emergency principal rural fire officer Bruce Janes.

“However, the recent run of warm weather has dried out all the vegetation growth caused by the unusual weather patterns, and we have a very large fuel load that could potentially cause a fire to spread very quickly.

“With the fire risk indices moving steadily upwards, it is time to introduce restrictions.”

People can apply for fire permits online at or call Fire and Emergency on 0800 658 628.

“We can work with you to make sure your fire burns safely, or in some cases, we can advise you that it’s not safe to burn a fire where you plan to,’’ Mr Janes said.

“With the fire risk escalating we are also urging people to avoid activities such as welding, grinding and even mowing lawns during the hottest part of the day as those activities may inadvertently cause a fire.

“It is also sensible for people with homes near trees, scrub or dry grass to do a check of their property to ensure they have minimised the risk of a fire spreading and that they can provide clear and easy access to fire crews in the event of an emergency.’’

People can find tips for keeping their property safe on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand website.

Gas or charcoal barbecues can still be used without a permit.