Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) is urging Kiwis in rural areas not to be deceived by the greener grass and cooler temperatures as wildfires can still easily break out.
The call follows a spike in wildfires, mainly happening in the afternoon, in several regions throughout the country.
While fire restrictions have been lifted in some areas, people still need to be careful when burning, FENZ rural region manager Richard McNamara said.
“It might look green but this can be deceptive, there is still often dead vegetation from summer remaining beneath the new green growth which a fire can spread through,” he explained. “As we move into autumn and winter, the cooler nights and dew often means conditions are generally less hazardous in the morning. However, as the vegetation dries out and warms through the day, fires which were easily contained can, in the afternoon, quickly spread and get out of control.”
McNamara also calls on people to check weather conditions before doing any burn-offs.
Here are some tips brokers can give clients, as enumerated by FENZ, when lighting fires:
- Avoid burning in windy conditions;
- There should be someone to watch over the fire at all times;
- Always have a hose, water bucket or water cart at the ready;
- If you have had a burn, make sure you first wash down the burn area to remove any residual heat – some burn piles in the right conditions can remain hot for months.
“People should also be considerate to their neighbours and think about the smoke drift and nuisance,” he added.