Plea to refrain from outdoor burning

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has asked farmers to refrain from any outdoor burning during the Covid-19 lockdown due to the potential safety hazard for fire crew attending call-outs.

Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group chairwoman Karen Williams said it was important to think of the safety of others during the lockdown period before putting them at risk.

‘‘We have been in constant communication with Fire and Emergency New Zealand to check expectations of personal safety during this lockdown period and we are strongly encouraging all of our grower members to really think hard about whether they need to burn.’’

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is asking the public to refrain from requesting fire permits at this stage.

‘‘Putting emergency services at risk of having volunteers go to callouts makes people vulnerable in an already stretched time for our essential health workers. We are strongly encouraging growers to really think about whether they need to light the fire,’’ she said.

‘‘Please reconsider whether you can wait to burn.’’

Principal Rural Fire Officer for South Canterbury Rob Hands said people needed to keep in mind that different fire season statuses remain for different districts.

‘‘Even though you may be able to do legal burning, we are asking you to refrain from doing so during this time to keep our communities and your bubble safe,’’ he said.

‘‘If you must burn, please make sure it is supervised and under control. If people around the district see burning without supervision they may call fire services and that in itself would be an avoidable safety risk.’’

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