A prohibited fire season was declared last week and continues to remain in force across Selwyn.
In a prohibited fire season, no outdoor fires can be lit in the district. The burning of crop stubble is also not allowed. Gas barbeques with a high pressure water source at hand are allowed, but not charcoal barbeques. Property owners are advised that if they start a fire on their property during the prohibited season which results in a 111 call out of the fire service, then they can expect to be charged for the fire service time.
Selwyn District Council Principal Rural Fire Officer Wilson Brown says that now is a good time for property owners to check they have adequate insurance cover for fire.
“Fires can start in many different ways and it is important that every property owner is insured for fire damage to their property, buildings, contents, machinery, stock and crops – and also that you are covered should the fire start on your property and spread to a neighbouring property,” he says. “Property owners need to have fire damage, fire fighting and public liability insurance. The costs of fighting fires can be very high, and they can be recovered from a property owner if they are found to have caused the fire through negligence.”
He says people should always check what fire restrictions are in place by visiting the Council website (http://www.selwyn.govt.nz/fire) or phoning the Council before lighting a fire.
Fires can also start from farm machinery so it’s important to check all machinery is in good working order. It is also a good idea to have a clear space between your house and buildings and vegetation like trees, shrubs and long grass to act as a fire break. Keep this space watered and green if possible or construct it from nonflammable material like paving stones.
If you see a fire burning out of control, phone 111 immediately to report it.