High fire danger levels and an increasing number of uncontrolled vegetation fires caused by the long, dry spell has seen a restricted fire season imposed across the Tararua.
"The weather, combined with the large amount of dry grass and fuel around the district will increase the fire danger level and there may be a need to impose a total fire ban if it doesn't rain soon," principal rural fire officer Paddy Driver says.
"Local volunteer fire brigades have had to attend an increasing number of uncontrolled vegetation fires so the restricted fire season will apply to rural and urban areas. Residents are reminded it is an offence to light a fire outdoors without a permit during the restricted period.
"You may use your gas-fired barbecue or any other gas-fired appliance outdoors without a permit and you can continue to burn rubbish in an incinerator which has a grate, a lid and a chimney with a spark arrestor fitted." However, burning rubbish in a 44-gallon drum with an open top is not allowed. "Residents are reminded that the person who lights a fire which becomes an uncontrolled fire, may be liable for the cost of controlling it and any damage caused to neighbours property as a result," Mr Driver said.
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"It is a simple process to apply for a permit and this can be done by phoning the Tararua District Council on 06 374 4080 or visiting any of our offices during opening hours.
"There is no cost for a fire permit and anyone wishing to burn should seek advice beforehand if they have any doubts."
The situation will be monitored daily by rural fire officers and fire status information and advice is also available on the Tararua District Council website www.tararuadc.govt.nz