Fire restrictions helping to reduce number of blazes

Fire chiefs in the Selwyn district say it has been a quieter holiday fire season. Photo: Supplied
Fire chiefs in the Selwyn district say it has been a quieter holiday fire season. Photo: Supplied
Volunteer firefighters are attributing a quieter Christmas and New Year to residents following fire restrictions.

Principal rural fire officer Bruce Janes said it has been less busy in the Selwyn district than this time last year.

“We were more alert, we had aircraft on standby, a lot of personnel on standby," he said. 

"I would say we were more attentive and expecting some drama but nothing really eventuated.

Mr Janes said the weather conditions have also not been as bad as last year.

“The grass is not as browned-off as it was and we are expecting some rain this week, which would be good.

“We are in better shape than we were last year that’s for sure.”

Since fire restrictions came into place last month, people have been responding very well, Mr Janes said.

“People are being fire savvy and getting their permits. It is pleasing to see.”

However, in the early hours of Friday morning a fire spread through 80m of hedge in Irwell.

Leeston volunteer firefighters took two hours to extinguish the blaze.

But Rolleston chief fire officer Cam Kenyon said there had been a low number of fires over Christmas and New Year in the area.

“Normally at this time of year we would get quite a few scrub fires and we haven’t really.

“I just think the message is finally getting through to people and it has just been quite quiet out here,” he said.

Lincoln deputy chief fire officer Roger McLenaghen said the area has been reasonably quiet as well.

“There has been nothing major really over this holiday period," he said. 

"People seem to be doing everything correctly and following the rules, which is great."

Southbridge chief fire officer Donald McMillan also said it has been quieter in the area than most years.

“I do think the reason we haven’t been as busy is because of the way the local authorities are making people get permits, follow restrictions and that sort of thing,” he said.

Rakaia chief fire officer Tyrone Burrows said it has been a quiet fire season for them.

“The season started a lot earlier last year I would say, and we have had fewer grass fires and things like that,” he said.

Fire restrictions have been in place across Canterbury from midnight December 13.






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