Check fire rules before heading outdoors over summer urges DOC
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe Department of Conservation (DOC) is urging people heading outdoors over summer to familiarise themselves with the rural fire rules, to avoid putting lives at risk and damaging the natural environment … and their pocket.
Date: 30 November 2010
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is urging people heading outdoors over summer to familiarise themselves with the rural fire rules, to avoid putting lives at risk and damaging the natural environment … and their pocket.
Three fires have resulted from illegal campfires not being extinguished in DOC’s Wellington Hawke’s Bay Conservancy over the last two weeks, says DOC fire officer Rachael Thorp, warning that such careless action will have ‘disastrous consequences’ if the dry weather continues.
Fire damage at Kuripapango Lakes in
the Kaweka Forest Park
Ms Thorp said valuable resources were tied up in quelling the fires - at Flat Rock, just north of Whirinaki in Napier; at Kuripapango Lakes in the Kaweka Forest Park, and at Pukerua Bay, near a conservation area. A helicopter, a forestry crew from Pan Pac, and a crew from DOC were required to extinguish the fire in the Kaweka Forest Park.
“Another month of dry weather will have disastrous consequences on our parks and reserves if the public continue to be this careless,” Ms Thorp said.
“With the fire danger rising over summer, people need to take more care when camping and use gas cookers instead of lighting a fire. If they want to light a fire they must apply for a fire permit.
Fire at Flat Rock, Napier
“Wild fires put lives at risk, destroy property, and devastate natural areas. The cost of suppressing them can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this can be passed onto those who are responsible for causing them.”
Ms Thorp said people planning to visit conservation land and other rural areas should check the rules relating to fires with the relevant rural fire authority - DOC, the New Zealand Defence Force, Rural Fire Districts and local councils.
A written fire permit is required from DOC to light any fire in the open on public conservation land and, in some cases, for a fire within one kilometre of these lands.
A fire ban, or prohibited fire season, is declared when conditions are such that any fire is likely to put life and property at risk. During a prohibited fire season, no fires can be lit in the open air and all fire permits are cancelled.
Find out about fire rules and fire prevention in rural areas:
Fire safety tips:
- Find out about fire restrictions and the current Fire Danger before going into forests, parks and rural areas
- Check for any rules relating to campfires, gas cookers, and established cooking areas
- Don’t leave any campfire unattended
- Ensure your campfire is extinguished before leaving
- Dispose of any ashes carefully
- Ensure access to water if lighting a fire
- If in doubt, don’t light a fire
- Dispose of cigarette butts carefully
- Take all rubbish out of the area with you
- Maintain vehicles, machinery and equipment (including quad bikes and motor bikes). Check if spark arrestors are required on exhaust systems and don’t leave engines running while parked over dry flammable materials