Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018
As the summer approaches, loggers and forest owners are being urged to seek advice from rural fire
officers before burning off slash after a burn-off got out of control in Northland last month.
The landowner was intending to burn off about two hectares of standing gorse and logging waste on
the Tinopai Peninsula, but the fire jumped a firebreak into more gorse and slash, eventually burning
through most of a 50-hectare block before stopping once it got to green pasture.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand Northland Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer Rory Renwick said
after jumping the firebreak, the fire burnt rapidly along a ridge to where a digger was still in the
process of building further fire breaks.
"Fortunately, the operator had not pushed far into the block and was able to get to a clearing just
before the six to eight metre flames crossed the narrow fire break he was working on,” he says,
adding that it needed two helicopters with monsoon buckets and four fire appliances to help douse
"At least four people have been killed in land clearing burns in New Zealand over the past 10 years.
This incident could have resulted in another fatality.
"We don’t want to stop the safe use of fire, but people need to understand the risk of burning areas
of slash or standing vegetation.
"We urge anyone considering a burn-off to get in touch with us first. We can provide free advice to
help people manage the risk of controlled burns."
To check the fire season status of your region and, if necessary, apply for a fire permit, go to
A hot summer is being predicted and foresters are being asked to seek advice before carrying out burn-offs..
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