Fire ban introduced
A prohibited fire season has been declared in Selwyn District after four big fires in just over two weeks, with all fire permits cancelled.
Under the restrictions no outdoor fires can be lit in the district. The burning of crop stubble is also not allowed. Gas barbeques with a high pressure water source at hand are allowed but not charcoal barbeques.
The district’s Principal Rural Fire Officer Wilson Brown said Selwyn had experienced a number of significant fires over the past weeks and a prohibited fire season has been introduced to help ensure that the risk of additional fires breaking out is minimised.
“We also need to give our community a clear message that the risk of fire is high and therefore a total fire ban is appropriate.”
Four significant fires have occurred in Selwyn District – the first on January 10 at Broadfields, followed by fires at Thompsons Road, Range Road and at the New Zealand Defence Force Rifle Range near West Melton on Wednesday.
“Our local volunteer fire crews, including the fire service, contractors and Council staff, have been extremely busy over the past weeks. We need to consider their health and safety and also the fact that they have to drop their own work commitments to carry out this important community service. We need to ensure that we do everything we can to allow them to rest and recover from recent fires so that they are ready for action when needed,” he said.
“The hot and dry conditions affecting Selwyn currently mean that the fire risk is high. We recognise that restrictions on the ability of farmers to burn crop residue will be frustrating but our primary focus must be on reducing the fire risk in the district in order to protect lives and property.
Mr Brown said the Council will be review the prohibited fire season status regularly and will lift restrictions as soon as it is considered safe to do so.