Fire season 'open' but be careful

Be careful: Rural firefighters deal with devastation fire causes.

The fire restriction status in Hastings has been pulled back to ‘open’ from today.

That status applies across the Hastings district, except for areas in the control of the Department of Conservation or Bay Forests Rural District.

That means outdoor fires can be lit but they must be out by dusk. Fires intended to burn later than that require a permit.

The Open Fire Season does not mean people should be careless, says Hastings District Council’s principal rural fire office Trevor Mitchell.

Even in the wettest conditions there will always be situations where fires are a very real risk, he said.

“Don’t light fires near flammable vegetation or structures or in windy conditions. And never leave fires unattended. The person who lights a fire is responsible for the control of it and of ensuring it is completely out.”

The cost of the extinguishing unattended fires and other fires the rural fire service consider hazardous will be charged to the person in charge of the fire.

Fire risk should be top-of-mind for all Hastings residents in the wake of last month’s runaway blaze in Waimarama, which saw a home and more than 160 hectares of pine forest and farm land lost, he said.