Wellington City Council's Principal Rural Fire Officer Jock Darragh says the recent hot, dry weather and frequent strong winds have dried out vegetation around the region.
"The coastal areas of Wellington are already quickly drying out despite recent rainfalls. This rain has helped to keep the long grass and foothills looking green, but in many places it is getting very dry underneath and the potential for any fire to escape is becoming serious."
Jock says there are a few simple things you can do to help yourself and your neighbourhood:
- be sensible when using / lighting any fire
- clear thick vegetation from around your home to create a gap of at least 10m
- don't stack firewood against your house or under your porch
- clear your gutters of dead leaves
- make sure you have a hose that reaches all parts of your house / section
- if your neighbour's section is overgrown, and you are concerned about it, offer to help clear their vegetation if they can't
- have an evacuation plan so you can get your family safely out of your house
- check your gas cylinders and hoses for leaks before lighting your barbecue
- if you see smoke at any time, dial 111 and ask for the Fire Service.
We would also like to remind people that lighting fires in the open is restricted all year round. The exception to this rule is charcoal and gas barbecues.
If you want to light a fire in the open you must get a permit from us first. Also, due to the danger of fires spreading, lighting fires on beaches is banned except at Houghton and Princess bays but you still need a permit.
If you are lighting a fire, make sure you have something on hand that is capable of dousing it - like a fire extinguisher, water bucket or fire blanket.