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Rubbish fire callouts double during lockdown

File photo/SunLive.

Rubbish fires have more than doubled during the lockdown period compared to previous years and Fire and Emergency is asking people to stop burning.

National Manager Community Readiness and Recovery Steve Turek says Fire and Emergency will respond to all emergencies but is asking people to help us by doing their bit to minimise the risk of fire, and the number of avoidable call outs for our firefighters.

"Between March 23 and April 22, we responded to nearly 750 preventable rubbish fires - more than double the number for the same period last year when we responded to nearly 390 rubbish fires.

"Even if a fire is permitted and under control, the smoke often generates a 111 call from well-meaning members of the public."

"Every time this happens, our firefighters need to leave their isolation bubble and risk potential exposure to COVID-19.

"During Alert Level 3 New Zealanders are being asked to stay vigilant and continue following the Government’s advice to keep themselves and others safe.

"Please consider alternatives to lighting fires if you can and hold off from rubbish fires, garden waste fires, and controlled burn offs, unless it is for essential industry (for example crop farmers)."

Steve says if you think your fire is essential and you’ve applied for a permit, please be patient.

During COVID-19 Alert level 3 it may take longer than usual for permit applications to be processed.

"And when you do burn, burn safely.

"Help us to keep you and our firefighters safe during these unprecedented times by not lighting any outdoor fires."

People can find out more at www.checkitsalright.nz

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