Dry conditions have put firefighters on full alert

Fire risk update

by Mike Isle

Selwyn’s firefighters — urban and rural, paid and volunteer — are on full alert this week as the fire risk increases and the district remains on a restricted season.

Anyone wanting to light a fire outside in the Selwyn district will need to first obtain a permit from Fire and Emergency NZ.

Moreover, permits right now could be hard to get, given the district has already seen sporadic outbreaks, and the current battle in Nelson to combat their massive fire has highlighted the risk.

North Canterbury’s deputy rural fire officer Dale Wilhelm says fire season status is decided based on weather data that is collected and computed from 20 weather stations in the area.

“This data not only gives us information on the potential of a fire spreading but also how difficult it may be to suppress.

“We are still sitting in a restricted season, but we will be looking very closely at what permits are issued as conditions continue to dry out. If we continue with this trend of warm, dry weather, we will have to seriously consider a prohibited season.”

Fire and Emergency NZ is 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.

They say 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.