Shelterbelt fire near Massey
A farmer burning rubbish without a permit set fire to a shelterbelt near Massey University this afternoon.
Sixteen firefighters and five appliances were called on to put out the fire which started on a Poultry Farm Road property at 1pm.
The smoke from the fire was visible across Palmerston North because of the easterly wind blowing.
Principal rural fire officer Stewart Davies said the fire was currently under investigation but it appeared the farmer had set a rubbish fire too close to the shelterbelt.
"These trees are tinder dry at the moment and with the way the wind is blowing I wouldn't have issued any permits today.
"He might have been alright if he had started the fire 50 metres away but instead he's started it right up next to the trees.
"If this had been a forestry block we would have been looking at helicopters by now."
He urged everyone to obey the fire ban and get permits.
"There is no cost, just ring the council and we'll come out and if the fire is appropriate we'll give you a permit."