Be careful mowing lawns and paddocks during the dry season

Total fire ban

by Ann van Engelen

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has updated its fire season for Canterbury and a Prohibited Fire Season came into effect at midnight on Friday, January 24 and encompasses the land within the Hurunui District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City — including Banks Peninsula and the Selwyn District.

Canterbury had been in a restricted season since the middle of November.

A prohibited season means a total fire ban, with any current fire permits for the area suspended from the date the prohibited season started.

“The region is very dry. We have already had a few vegetation fires get out of hand recently, and they have required significant resources to bring under control. It only takes a spark to start a fire,” says Acting Principal Rural Fire Officer, Mr Hutt.

It is a timely reminder of how easily and quickly a fire can spread in these dry conditions. It is important people carefully consider the dangers when looking at activities involving machinery. Machines can create sparks, and with hot, dry and windy conditions — fire easily spreads.

If you need to mow your lawns or paddocks, do so during the early hours of the morning when the temperature is low, and the relative humidity is high and keep machines clean and maintained regularly. It is advisable to have a water source nearby if undertaking these activities.

For more information on whether you can light a fire in your area head to checkitsalright.nz.

FENZ Canterbury is also holding a community meeting in conjunction with NZ Police and Selwyn District Council Civil Defence Team to provide lifestyle block owners and those with large properties, information on how to prepare their properties for the peak fire season and what to do in the event of a fire. The key messages can be attributed to any sized property.

To find out how to be fire safe this summer and ways you can assist in large-scale emergencies, the event will be held at the Lincoln Event Centre on Sunday, February 16 from 1–3pm. Refreshments will be provided.