Waikato-wide fire ban

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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Sweltering temperatures have forced a total fire ban across Waikato with every council warning of extreme fire risk.

The ban comes as two scrub fires near Taupo threatened to burn out of control on Tuesday night with both fires being investigated by police after being deemed suspicious.

Fire communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said the Fire Service was called to a 1200-square-metre scrub fire just after 6pm near the golf course.

They were later called to a smaller scrub fire on Tauhara Rd which Phillips said got close to a service station before being brought under control.

Taupo District Council principal rural fire officer, Phil Parker, said the risk to lives and property was "very high".

The farming community is also being asked to carry fire extinguishers on board agricultural equipment and to check that electrical fences are clear of debris or materials that may catch fire.

The Thames Valley rural fire district has enforced a total fire ban across the Hauraki, Matamata-Piako and Thames Coromandel district councils.

Waipa District Council principal rural fire officer Chuck Davis has banned all fires and rescinded all fire permits.

Otorohanga principal rural fire officer David Brown said the fire danger had increased dramatically through January due to high temperatures and strong, warm winds.

Waikato District Council principal rural fire officer Andy Baker said total fire bans would remain for the foreseeable future.

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- Waikato Times

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