Council helping to buy fire tankers

The Clutha District Council yesterday approved the Otago Rural Fire Authority's request for $259,250 over two years to help replace three of its water tankers in Clutha.

Cr Gaynor Finch said the council had to make rural firefighters' job ''as easy and as safe as possible.''

Cr Hamish Anderson said while arid areas in North and Central Otago had spectacular fires, ''huge potential loss'' posed a real threat to Clutha. The district had extensive forestry interests and settlements close to, or surrounded by, forests.

The fire authority deemed four of Clutha's six tankers to be ''not fit for purpose''.

Two were taken off the road and replaced and two were placed under major restrictions.

The council allocated $174,250 for the Clutha Valley and Lawrence tankers to be replaced in 2016-17.

The fire authority would receive $85,000 from the council for the Waihola Volunteer Rural Fire Force tanker replacement in 2015-16.

The fire authority earlier received funding for the Balclutha Volunteer Fire Brigade tanker this financial year.

The funding would be split with the national fire authority and the council's contribution would be loan-funded over 10 years.

The Papatowai Rural Fire Force received $10,000 for its planned station extension.

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