Firefighters urge caution with cigarette disposal

Last updated 05:00 22/11/2013

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Careless cigarette disposal is the likely cause of a scrub fire behind Trusts Arena on Wednesday.

Senior station officer Kenton Rushbridge was the officer in charge at the scene and urges people to dispose of cigarettes properly.

"Every time we attend a call for a small scrub fire it's making us less available to save property and lives," he says.

Firefighters from Te Atatu and Henderson were called to the three by 10 metre blaze just after 12pm and remained on site for an hour.

He says suspicious behaviour is not likely to be a factor and a worn out track suggests a pedestrian could have dropped a cigarette.

Low lying vegetation and three punga trees were damaged in the fire.

"People need to be aware that cigarettes go into proper metal bins," Mr Rushbridge says.

"I've been to about four cigarette related fires in the past few weeks and this fire could have been more significant if it was in mid December." Henderson senior station officer Tony Buckwell says people should also be extra vigilant when letting off fireworks.

"If people let off left over fireworks now, it can be quite a common cause of fire," he says.

"It becomes far more of an issue as the seasons get drier and it's already been a dry spring Mr Buckwell says people should be aware of the restricted fire season implemented in rural areas from December 1.

People wanting to start fires need to apply for a permit and will then have their property assessed.

Visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more information.

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- Western Leader

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