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Dry conditions push up fire risk

Wednesday, January 22, 2020   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: safety, management

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 20th January 2020

The fire risk in North Canterbury is moving towards extreme levels.

With warm, windy weather forecast for later this week, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) is reminding people they need to be vigilant.

A restricted fire season is currently in place across North Canterbury.

“We are entering what is traditionally the height of the fire season and everyone will be incredibly mindful of the situation that has occurred in Australia these past months. While parts of fire-ravaged Australia are now receiving much needed rain, we are not likely to receive any of that in the short to medium-term," says FENZ Integrated Risk Manager Darrin Woods.

“Our fuel conditions continue to dry out and the look of the hills around Christchurch and the inland foothills is of an increasingly brown landscape as grass seed heads mature and cure. In many areas you will still find a green base to the grass sward but this is rapidly drying off.

“We need high levels of vigilance to ensure that we don’t get any fire starts, especially during periods of elevated temperatures or strong winds," Mr Woods says. 

“People need to make sure that their properties are maintained and clear of long grass. If you need to do work around your property to reduce the fire risk, avoid doing it when there are high temperatures and strong winds because a spark from a lawn mower or a scrub-cutter can easily start a fire.

“Additional precautions also need to be taken if you are grinding or welding. Make sure you wet-down the surrounding area and remain on site for a time after you have finished the job to ensure that a fire doesn’t start. In recent weeks we have had a number of fires that have been sparked by people welding or grinding," Mr Woods says.

Check out the fire risk in your area, as well as fire safety tips and whether you need a permit to light a fire.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch