Fire permits will be needed from now as the Waikato District Council begins a restricted fire season.
Permits will be needed for all fires in the open air with the exception of barbecues, hangi, brazier-type fires and fires within a properly constructed incinerator fitted with a lid or mesh spark arrestor to stop embers escaping.
The introduction of the restricted fire season was the result of the climatic conditions, with little rain and high temperatures contributing to a rapid increase in fire weather danger levels, said Principal Rural Fire officer Andy Baker.
Of particular concern currently were strong winds which could make fire behaviour extremely unpredictable.
An open fire season had been in place for some months and Mr Baker hoped those needing to burn large piles had done so, removing the need to burn now when fire danger was higher.
“The main concern is the risk of fires spreading which is heightened by the dry condition of fuels and strong wind,” he said.
“Of particular concern are the areas of peat soils where fires can become deep seated and difficult to extinguish and our coastal areas such as Raglan, Te Akau, Port Waikato and the Waiuku Forest.”
People must light fires in a responsible manner, ensure they were safe, and would not spread or cause any smoke nuisance to neighbours or nearby road users.
Fire fighting and other costs may be borne by the person responsible for lighting a fire or the landowner, adding further incentives for people to take the lighting of fires seriously.
If anyone sees a fire they believe is either out of control or in a place where there is risk of it spreading they should call 111 immediately with as much information about the location as possible.
Further information on fire weather danger is available from National Rural Fire Authority.
Applications for permits can be made by contacting any of the council offices or via the website.
The latest restrictions apply to the district’s rural areas.