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 email@example.com
I'm concerned about interested in the air quality in Waikato at present. It's been getting worse over the past 10 years, to the extent that now you don't want to walk outside most nights due to the amount of burn-offs which're happening on farms - often containing non-wood items such as electronics, polystyrene and plastic.
This is ironic, as NZ has terribly low carbon in our soils, which is a problem for farmers. It would be made much better were the wood in question to be left to rot. And of course contaminating our soils and air with burning electronics is a bad thing.
* Woodchipping - woodchipping old trees/branches and either using the output elsewhere or spreading over a paddock so it can rot down quickly, is a good way to add carbon back into soils.
* Leaving to rot - spreading wood around the edges of a paddock and leaving it to rot is a slow option, but doesn't require a lot of effort.
* Firewood collectors - for larger logs, firewood sellers will happily tow them away. Of course, this still puts the wood in the air, rather than in the soil, but at least it keeps someone warm in winter.
For polystyrene/electronics/etc the obvious solution should be the dump or metal recyclers, where you'll get a couple of bucks for your effort at least. For batteries, Grimmer Motors in Hamilton take both household and car batteries and recycle them. Putting plastics and electronics etc in fires should be banned outright, if not prosecuted.
This service supports elderly, ill and disabled people living at home who would otherwise struggle to provide healthy meals for themselves.
Volunteering is a fun and rewarding experience. Being a Meals on Wheels driver takes about two hours one day a week, fortnight or month, or even casually depending on your availability.
For further information please contact us on 07 849 0285 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org