Fireworks and dry weather don’t mix, says council
With Guy Fawkes day upon us and the weather heating up, Council is urging people to be extra careful about setting off fireworks with the bush around us being very dry.
Reckless use of fireworks caused a major fire at Fletchers Bay in the north of the Coromandel on New Year’s Eve 2017 that burned through five hectares.
If you are lighting fireworks, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re using them safely. Light them from your private property, not a public place, and keep in mind any animals that may be nearby.
"We're already seeing the ground dry from the great weather we've been having," says Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie.
"Be mindful of the bush surrounding your property, which if it dries out can potentially be fuel for a fire. The Fire and Emergency (FENZ) website has advice on for fire safety for urban and rural properties, or give them a call on 04 496 3600."
Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler says the biggest emergency concern this summer period is wildfire.
"Several factors have combined to drive up the wildfire risk.
"We've had a wet lead-up to spring which has spurred growth that is now drying off. Ground water tables are running very, very low - at around 50%. We've had a lot of new housing development in wooded areas, especially along the eastern coast of the Coromandel. On top of this, many mature trees have been poisoned over the winter and are now dead," he says.
"If we combine all these factors with negligence - from a misdirected firework or a neglected bonfire - the consequences could be catastrophic.
"We know we'll have some storms and our share of cyclone events that will bring heavy rain and flooding," says Garry.
"We know how to handle these - that's business as usual for us. But this year the risk of wildfire through negligence is a high concern. We're appealing to everyone to be careful when handling fire."
If you see an out-of-control fire, call 111 immediately.
FENZ issues fire permits and sets the fire seasons and any bans on fires in the open in all urban and rural locations across the country.
Check their website to see what the fire season is in your area.
Here are a few safety tips about fireworks from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ):
• Don’t light fireworks in windy or dry conditions.
• Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using any fireworks.
• Light your fireworks in a wide-open area, away from anything that could catch fire, like dry grass, leaves or crops, or flammable gases or liquids.
• Keep a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher handy.
Lighting fireworks safely
• Only adults should light fireworks.
• Keep all unlit fireworks in their box or bag until you’re ready to light them.
• Point fireworks at the stars, not at people or anyone’s home.
• Leave dud or damaged fireworks alone.
Be considerate with fireworks
• Do not use fireworks after 10.30pm and try to let your neighbours know in advance.
• If you're in a rural area, make sure you do not set off fireworks around farm animals.
• If you do get burned, hold your burn under cold running water for 20 minutes.
• Keep your pets inside.