Dry weather leads to fire ban

By Staff Reporter

A total fire ban has been imposed in South Taranaki north of the Manawapou River.

The continued dry weather in the region has prompted the ban in both rural and urban areas.

From midnight last night, all fires - including incinerators, wood or coal barbecues and hangi - will be prohibited in the rural and urban areas of Hawera, Tangahoe, Eltham and Egmont Plains Wards. Only gas-fired barbecues will be allowed.

All residents need to be aware that if they light a fire, the full cost of extinguishing it will be charged to the property owner.

"The whole district is very, very dry," rural fire officer John Gunn said.

"Fighting fires puts a major drain on the district's water supplies, which are already under severe stress. We don't need to be using water to put out fires if we can avoid it," he said.

A total fire ban means all current permits were suspended from midnight.

The restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

In Wanganui, the risk is now extreme, and Bernie Rush, area manager for the Fire Service, is asking people to be very careful, as fires can spread quickly in such conditions, particularly if it is windy. The need for a total fire ban for the region will be assessed on Monday. A rural fire officer yesterday was out checking rural fire permits to see if they were still safe.

Fires in the Ruapehu District Council area are now restricted, not prohibited as reported in the Chronicle.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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