Fire restrictions this summer

A restricted fire season is in place throughout the rural plains of Selwyn, including West Melton. This was introduced as at 8AM 22 December.

Under a restricted fire season, only gas barbeques, crop residue and rubbish fires inside contained drums are allowed in rural areas of Selwyn. Any other fires can only be lit if a permit has been obtained from Selwyn District Council, but in the current dry conditions property owners should not expect to obtain a permit unless exceptional circumstances exist.

Crop stubble fires are permitted in a restricted fire season but land owners need to be careful to ensure there is a fire break of ten clear metres around the edge of the fire to prevent it spreading.

Property owners need to check the weather conditions and be careful to avoid burning on hot days or when strong winds are forecast. We would also encourage people to avoid activities such as lawn mowing on hot Nor West days where there is a risk of a sparking igniting and starting a fire.

A full list of fire safety guidelines which must be followed is available at www.selwyn.govt.nz/fire – if these conditions are not met, property owners can be liable for the costs of fire-fighting and damage from escaped fires.

What’s allowed in a restricted fire season
Inresidential areasthe only type of fire permitted throughout the year are barbeques or cooking fires. Other fires need a resource consent from Environment Canterbury. In rural areas in Selwyn in a restricted fire season the following rules apply:

· Gas barbeques are allowed if a water source is nearby. In residential areas gas barbeques are the only type of outdoor fire allowed unless a resource consent has been granted from Environment Canterbury for the fire

· Fires in drums must be covered with a wire mesh top sized no greater than 20mm or have a lid and flue with a spark arrester fitted. Only material that has had a minimum of at least a six week drying period may be burnt under Environment Canterbury’s Air Plan. The only type of materials that may be burnt according to these rules is dried vegetation, paper, cardboard and untreated wood

· A water source must be nearby to extinguish the fire if needed and the fire may not be lit when strong winds are blowing or forecast

· The burning of crop residue is allowed but only during daylight hours and must be attended at all times. Fires may not be lit when strong winds are blowing or forecast, fire-fighting equipment and an adequate water source must be nearby and a 10 metre firebreak must be cleared around the edge of the area to be burnt. New requirements are also in place under Environment Canterbury’s Air Plan which must be followed.

· Fire may be lit if a specific permit has been issued by Selwyn District Council and the conditions of the permit are followed

What’s not allowed:

· Any type of fire not listed as permitted above – note that bonfires are not permitted

· Fire cannot be lit on Council reserves – including Coes and Chamberlains Fords and Whitecliffs Reserve

In the high country and hill areas of Selwyn, a restricted fire season is permanently in place.