Bonfires 'unnecessary' - fire service

"It takes us away from more important things"

Last updated 11:24 11/11/2012
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Bonfires on the beach are an unnecessary waste of resources, says the fire service.

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Bonfires are not only against council bylaws - they are also a waste of time and resources, says the fire service.

Overnight on Saturday was the first busy night of the summer season with firefighters attending a number of fires around the region.

"We went to a couple in town, one at Fitzroy and one at Waiwhakaiho," New Plymouth station officer Maurice Kemsley said.

"I don't know what it was, it's the first night we've had a lot. We had more last night than on Guy Fawkes," he said.

"It's an unnecessary use of resources - it takes us away from more important things like crashes and house fires," Mr Kemsley said.

Patea firefighters were also called to a bonfire on Beach Rd in the early hours of this morning.

Mr Kemsley said attending beach fires was a nuisance given it is against council bylaws.

The New Plymouth District Council bylaws state that open fires are not permitted in any of the district's parks or beaches.

Small fires may be allowed on beaches and reserves if the fire is contained in a barbecue or incinerator, or below the high water mark.

A fire should not be lit in windy conditions and it should be adequately put out using water (not sand), the bylaw reads.

Mr Kemsley said people ignored the bylaws because the council didn't police them.

"We've become a reactive service - it's unnecessary," he said. 

Fires on the beach were a problem because they were often hard to access, Mr Kemsley said.

"They can catch driftwood and grass on fire and that can be a problem when its windy."

Mr Kemsley said the message from the fire service was simple.

"Don't do it. Follow the bylaws and don't light them."

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