Be safe with fire as we come in to summer

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Be safe with fire as we come in to summer

Fire and Emergency is urging people in Marlborough to be safe and responsible with fire as we come into summer.

Marlborough Group Manager Chris Hayles says people planning land management burns should do it now before the district dries out.

"Now is a good time to plan your land management burn. Burning now while it’s cooler and greener means there is less risk a fire will spread and get out of control," he says.

"But you still need to be safe. In recent weeks crews have responded to a number of out of control fires where people haven’t been able to contain them. Some fires have reignited on windy days, other have been lit when strong winds have already been forecast.

"There are a few simple things you can do to make sure your burn stays under control.

"Before lighting the fire check the weather forecast. Never light your fire when windy conditions are forecast.

"Plan your burn for a day and time where the fire danger is low - normally earlier in the morning when it is cooler. You can check the fire danger, and find handy fire safety tips, on www.checkitsalright.nz.

"Only light small piles - not large piles that could burn for weeks.

"Never leave your burn unattended."

Chris says firefighters often see fires early in the new year caused by old burn sites that haven’t been extinguished properly.

"It’s usually really dry over this time, which makes these fires especially problematic as the fire danger is more extreme. When a historic burn site reignites during this time, there’s a real risk of starting a devastating wildfire," he says.

"That’s why it’s important to regularly check to make sure your fire is fully out. Ashes remain hot for a long time. Anyone who has burnt in the last few months should check their piles of ash are fully extinguished. Dig into it and make sure it is not still hot. If it is, spread it out and cool down with water."

"Fire is a great land management tool if it’s managed properly. If you let your guard down, the results could be disastrous."

"As it gets hotter and dryer, fire restrictions may also come into place. You can check the fire season status at www.checkitsalright.nz."