We’ve Had Some Wet but Now’s Not the Time to Fire Up

The Waimakariri might have had a bit of rain in the last week, with some more forecast for the next few days, but that is not cause to get comfy on the fire front. If anything, our fire risk is even greater, with people lighting up at the first sight of rain, when they shouldn’t be.

Fire & Emergency New Zealand advises that restrictions remain in place, and permits are required before fires can be lit. 20171206_RestrictedFireSeason

If you would like to light, go to the www.checkitsalright.nz website to determine what rules apply for your location.

While recent rain has added a green tinge to the vegetation in some areas, FENZ has not relaxed its fire restrictions, although the moisture has delayed the changeover from a restricted to a prohibitive fire season.

The national fire body has a series of predetermined scientific triggers that are used to determine fire season status.  

The methodology is based on a combination of grass curing and calculated values from the Fire Weather Index, the latter being determined from the network of Remote Automatic Weather Stations (RAWS) situated around the region. 

RAWS provide daily measurements of temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and rainfall.

While grass curing remains very high in parts, areas where grass has been cut has had the opportunity to freshen up a bit with recent rain. 

As a result, the fire weather codes and indices FENZ monitor have fallen sharply, and are currently well below the predetermined thresholds required for imposing a Prohibited Fire Season. 

There is still, FENZ cautions, a long way to go this summer.

In the meantime:

  • Report any fires or smoke by dialling 111.
  • If you light fires without a permit, expect a visit from Fire and Emergency New Zealand who will extinguish any fire that does not meet the conditions of the Restricted Fire Season.
  • There is still a lot of summer to go and there will continue to be high temperatures.  Take care with any activities that may produce sparks on hot dry days, and even more so if it is windy – such activities include grinding, welding and even mowing lawns on stony ground.
  • Carefully consider whether it is essential to have a fire – consider alternatives, or delaying until restrictions are removed later in the year.
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand will continue to monitor fire weather conditions and change the fire season according to its predetermined triggers. If there is a change in status in the Waimakariri, we will let you know.

Contact: Matt McIlraith

Phone: 0800 965 468