A total fire ban is to come into force throughout the Hastings District.
From 8am this Friday morning (14th December) no fires in the open air will be permitted and strict penalties will apply for people who light or cause fires.
Principal Rural Fire Officer, Trevor Mitchell says “All of the fire risk indicators have reached extreme and are tracking well above last summer and in line with the drought of 1997. There is little rain in the long range forecasts and conditions have become so volatile that just a spark could cause a devastating blaze. We are asking anyone working or travelling through our region to take extreme care.”
“People must not throw cigarette butts out vehicle windows as the vegetation on the roadside has become tinder dry and could easily ignite. Lighting bonfires at the beach, fireworks, solid fuel BBQs and traditional cooking fires are also banned.”
Gas BBQs and properly constructed fire boxes such as pizza ovens are permitted but care is still required.
Rural fire-fighters were called to 11 fires over a five day period in early December but a couple of cooler days in the last week has provided some reprieve.
Trevor Mitchell says “Fires starting in these conditions have the potential to spread very quickly, endangering lives and property and making them very challenging to control. For this reason, we’re asking everyone to take extra precautions, be aware of their surroundings and report any fires to 111.”
For further information on the fire restrictions go to www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/fire-restrictions