Open fire season in Coastal Otago and Clutha

Farmers in Coastal Otago and Clutha will be able to do some pre-winter clearing, now that Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) has moved the areas to an open fire season.

Otago principal rural fire officer Graeme Still said it meant farmers in the two zones could, in most cases, light fires without a permit.

However, the Lakes and Central zones would remain in a restricted season because of the increased fire risk in those areas.

Mr Still said people still needed to follow safe burning practices, think and plan ahead, and take responsibility for any fires they light.

Because Alert Level 2 was still in place, and there were still restrictions on how people could interact, he urged farmers to notify Fenz if and when they were going to light fires.

Sometimes members of the general public could not tell if a burn-off was intentional or accidental, and having knowledge of intended fires would curb unnecessary callouts.

“We would like people to notify us prior to lighting their fire. This helps us and volunteer brigades when we respond to a fire.

“There is always a risk associated with fires, regardless of the time of year and how wet it may appear.

‘‘Wind is the biggest factor that catches people out.’’

Mr Still also urged people to make sure smoke did not create a hazard near roads.

Fenz could be notified of intended fires by visiting, or by calling 027535-2574.


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