Wairarapa fire risk climbs in big dry

By Staff Reporter editorial@age.co.nz -
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A fire on Norfolk Rd, Carterton District, started by people lighting fireworks. PHOTO/FILE
A fire on Norfolk Rd, Carterton District, started by people lighting fireworks. PHOTO/FILE

The entire Wairarapa Rural Fire District has entered a Prohibited Fire Season from today, meaning no fires can be lit because the danger is too high.

This is a step up from "restricted", which still allowed fires by permit.

In a prohibited season, only gas barbecues can be used.

Because of the very dry conditions, principal rural fire officer Phill Wishnowsky is urging all people living or visiting rural Wairarapa to be aware of the risks that a fire is to people, livelihoods and property.

"People also need to check the fire risk before doing seasonal tasks like topping paddocks or harvesting of cereal crops," he said.

Property owners are also asked to check power lines on their land to ensure there is a good safety margin between the power lines and trees.

A common tell-tale sign is brown tips of branches where arcing has occurred previously, when the tree and power lines have come into contact with each other.

If work to clear the lines is required, land owners are encouraged to contact their local power company, which will be able to tell them which tree contractors in their area are approved to carry out this work.

Mr Wishnowsky is encouraging anyone with information to contact the Wairarapa Rural Fire District or police regarding two fires at Norfolk Rd on Saturday evening, which were started by fireworks from a moving vehicle.

Mr Wishnowsky said six fire appliances spent six hours protecting property at risk.

A forestry crew remained overnight to monitor the two sites.

For further information on weather and fire conditions go to the Wairarapa Rural Fire District website at www.wrfd.org.nz

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