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Fire danger expected to be high in Waikato district early next year

The Waikato Rural Fire Authority is urging people planning to have burn offs and fires on their properties over the summer, to get them taken care of before Christmas.

The New Zealand seasonal fire danger outlook prepared for the National Rural Fire Authority is predicting weak La Nina conditions for the remainder of the year which typically results in warmer sea temperatures, warm northeast winds and outbreaks of reasonably heavy rain.

It also predicts that the Waikato district, in particular the northern parts from Huntly, will be an area to watch in terms of fire danger in early 2017.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Andy Baker says that a restricted fire season will no doubt be introduced as things begin to dry out. This means not only will fire permits be required for all fires in the open but that there will be greater risk attached to lighting fires. A risk that can often lead to significant cost for a land owner if a fire needs to be put out, he says.

“I encourage people to think about what they need to burn and when. From our view it is safer to have smaller fires now than waiting for dryer weather and having large fires which with high winds and dry conditions are more risky,” Mr Baker says.

“Take a common sense approach to fires by considering things like wind, what surrounds the area and the likelihood of fire being able to spread, don’t wait for the risk to get any higher, now is a great time to burn responsibly.”