Fire vigilance earns praise

A controlled burn along State Highway 1 near Koromiko was an excellent example of permitted burning and public vigilance ahead of summer, Picton Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Wayne Wytenburg says.

Brigade members took two appliances to a fire at a roadside property after a member of the public contacted emergency services after seeing billowing smoke from agricultural waste at about 1pm on November 29.

Mr Wytenburg said the property owner had a permit for the fire and it was under control, but the callout was a positive sign of public vigilance ahead of a potentially very dry summer.

"Blenheim's had a number of fires lately. The land's drying out and people need to be careful about where and when they light fires.

"They need to be mindful of what they're doing and what's around them. Radiant heat or ember transfers can happen very quickly in a dry wind. They can drop far from the original fire."

The burnoff on Thursday was along about a 50-metre stretch of grass and bush next to a stream and did not require action from the fire crews. Smoke rising above the road was minimal.

The property owner had done the right thing by getting a permit, ensuring only dry vegetation was burnt, and having the fire next to a water source capable of putting it out, he said.

The Marlborough District Council website states only dry vegetation, untreated wood and paper products such as magazines and newspaper should be burned.

Do not start a fire within 15 metres of a building or when the wind is stronger than 15kmh, the website states.

Punishment for breaching the rules can involve a $300 infringement notice or prosecution resulting in a fine of up to $200,000 or up to two years in prison.

The Marlborough Express