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With Canterbury’s warm dry weather contributing to a high fire risk, Christchurch City Council is urging residents to be careful not to take unnecessary risks.
Murray Sinclair, Manager, Civil Defence and Emergency Management says that residents need to take care and responsibility both in town and in rural areas.
“Of particular concern are reckless use of fireworks, lawn-mowing on hot windy days, using power tools that spark and discarding cigarettes without extinguishing them fully.
“Cantabrians need to remain vigilant – bottom line is, don’t do something that can cause a fire.”
Mr Sinclair says that people may not be aware that if they cause a fire that fire services need to respond to, the costs for putting it out may be on-charged to them.
“If we need to put out a fire, whether it is because someone has been careless or not, the costs can be significant and people can get a surprise bill on top of what they have potentially lost.”
Private property owners are encouraged to help with reducing potential fire risks over summer by ensuring that their properties are well-maintained. Long grass and dense vegetation are not hazards in themselves but once a spark is generated they can become a risk.
Unit Manager Inspections and Enforcement Gary Lennan says, “The recent spate of fires has highlighted the need for Christchurch residents to be mindful and to take personal responsibility for their own properties. Every effort should be made to lessen the risk of any potential fire hazard.
“Having a well-maintained property greatly reduces the risk of fire. Be proactive: regularly cutting your grass, trimming overhanging trees and removing excess vegetation is not only the best defence against the spread of fire – it will also stop your neighbours worrying.”
Council also want to clarify that while the New Zealand Fire Service responds to all fire calls placed through 111, if the fire is considered rural the responsibility lies with Rural Fire Authorities.
Residents with concerns about fire hazards can call the Council on 941 8999 or CERA on 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372 ). In the event of a fire, immediately call 111.