There's a total fire ban on around the Waikato. The little rain we’ve had has evaporated and the ground, grass and bush are still tinder dry.
So how come a few people are ignoring the ban and burning hedge clippings, tree stumps or general clean-up rubbish? That's something that puzzles Paul Shaw, Principal Rural Fire Officer for the Waikato.
"The fire risk is extreme for most of the region, so when someone decides to burn off a heap of rubbish they are highly likely to set their surroundings alight,” he says.
“A lifestyle block owner in the Northern Waikato recently lit a fire that started off small but spread quickly and got out of control. Two Brigades has to turn out to what was an unnecessary, deliberately lit fire during the Total Fire Ban.”
Even a fire that appears safe can still cause unnecessary call-outs and serious logistical problems for the Fire Service.
“When members of the public see smoke they call 111, and we are obliged to send fire appliances and staff to investigate. Not only does that divert us from real emergencies it means that our staff and volunteers have to leave their safe Covid-19 ‘bubbles’ and risk a virus infection,” says Paul.
“We are doing our best to look after our personnel during the pandemic. We have stood down all over 70s, and many others have stood themselves down because they or members of their close families having underlying health issues. This has reduced the number of people we have available to respond.”
Paul emphasises that Fire and Emergency NZ will always be there to look after communities but right now they are asking the public to minimise the risk by not lighting any fires.
“We can’t afford to have our limited resources put in unnecessary danger because of fires lit by thoughtless people,” he says.
For further information contact Paul Shaw on 027 284 8636 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kia ora Waikato, it's time to dust off that old camera, get out and about and show the rest of your neighbours your favourite, treasured spots in your region. It could be an awesome view, the shy wildlife or even the old buildings that are wanting their stories to be told.
Go ahead, get snapping and illustrate what's beyond your backyard.
Post your photographs in the comments below ⬇
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