No permit = no fire
The restricted rural fire season for summer 2017/18 has started, and extends from October 1, 2017 until April 30, 2018.
Permits are now needed to burn dried vegetative matter in the open air and household rubbish in the Western Bay District and Tauranga City rural areas.
The purpose of the restricted season is to reduce incidents of uncontrolled vegetation fires in rural areas. Permits are only withheld when weather conditions make burning too dangerous. Failure to hold a permit can result in prosecution.
Permits are issued by Pumicelands on behalf of Fire and Emergency NZ and can be applied for online, at no charge, through Western Bay of Plenty District Council: www.pumicelands.co.nz.
The permit is only valid if it is signed by the person responsible for the fire and that person must be in possession of the permit at the time of burning.
Permits are essential year-round for all open air fires in rural areas and Matakana and Rangiwaea Islands, with no fire permits issued for the beach reserves.
Mayor Island (Tuhua) is under a total fire ban year-round.
FENZ deputy principal rural fire officer Alan Pearce asks people to use common sense and if in doubt about lighting a fire, to contact the authority regarding conditions.
“Even with a permit, people must obey the requirements around safety and fire management including having water available, locating the fire in a vegetation free area well away from buildings and having someone supervising the fire at all times.
“If in doubt – don’t burn, or put it out!”
Alan says fires are a valid land management tool in safe conditions, but if a fire gets out of control the person responsible can be held accountable any damage caused.
Permits take two working days to process, are no issued after hours, and on occasion the burn site may require inspection before a permit is authorised and issued.