Fire fears rising

The fire service is expecting to see the effects of a windy, dry spring during summer as the number of vegetation fires starts to rise.

Principal rural fire officer Brent Fanning, who covers Manawatu, Horowhenua and Rangitikei, said the "fuel" was drying out. People were unaware of the conditions and were trying to have burnoffs.

This year there had been more fires than last year, he said.

The conditions were such that he was expecting to bring in fire restrictions by the end of the week to stop people from lighting fires without a permit between State Highway 1 and the coast, and SH3 and the coast.

There is already an all-year requirement for a permit to burn within 3 kilometres of the coast.

Burnoffs in sandy areas had been a particular problem, he said.

In one case, a fire re-ignited about two weeks after a burnoff.

People didn't realise a fire could continue to smoulder in tree stumps under the ground.

They were also liable for costs if the fire service had to be called in, he said.

Manawatu Standard