The Risk Is Extreme So Be Fire Smart

Published: 28-May-2018

Ok. So we all know that the temperatures are going to skyrocket for the first part of the week. Hot today and even hotter tomorrow, with 25 predicted for this afternoon, and a pair of 31s to follow for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The soaring temperatures will be accompanied by strengthening north-to-north-westerly winds for inland areas, creating extreme fire behaviour conditions. 20171207_HighTemperature

And that’s just what’s predicted.

Both weathermen, and the Fire and Emergency New Zealand team, acknowledge that it could be even hotter than the forecasted temperatures, especially at the foot of the mountains.

Which all makes the Waimakariri extremely vulnerable to an outbreak of fires over the next few days, meaning that your vigilance and fire-sense is critical.

Think twice before undertaking any activity that might carry a fire risk – intended or otherwise.

Avoid any outdoor activities in the first part of the week that could generate sparks during the hottest parts of the day, typically from 11am to 7pm. 

This includes grinding, welding, chain sawing and even mowing lawns on stony ground. 

General care should be taken with any motorised or power tools, ensuring that they are well maintained and not left where hot exhausts or working parts could be exposed to dry vegetation.

Most importantly, keep an eye out for any smoke that you see, and alert the fire brigade immediately when you see it.

As well as human ignition, such as the car fire that broke out in Hurunui yesterday, fires can also start through natural causes, as proved to be the case over the weekend when two North Canterbury fires were caused by lightning strikes.

This is particular relevant for tonight when the unsettled nature of the airflow over the Alps creates the conditions for further electrical activity in the night sky.

We are only a week or so from the first anniversary of the Port Hills fires.

If we all show good fire sense, we will give ourselves the best chance of avoiding any repeats.