South Island Fire Warning Issued11 January 2013
NEW ZEALAND - Prolonged hot periods without rain have lead to fires breaking out in areas of the north South island which has caused disturbance and concern across rural organisations.
Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ) has urged all residents to be extremely conscious of the fire risk in the Canterbury areas and further afield. They have urged the public to thoroughly check lawnmowers, farm equipment, tractors, quad bikes and motorbikes before use.
For those in very high risk areas, FFNZ has advised that consideration should be given to the creation of fire breaks around buildings, adjacent to roadways or along boundary lines.
The extent of the fires prompted a request for help from regional councils. In Tasmania the Waimea Rural Fire Authority has contributed a team of firefighters to control bush fires.
Horses had to be removed from a Canterbury horse training property and driven to safety, according to The Press. No horses from Courtco racing were hurt. Courtco racing owner Brian Court told The Press that the damage was limited to pine trees and 2000 bales of hay.
Rain is forecast for early next week but FFNZ have recommended that fire suppression equipment is organised on farms. According to Federated Farmers only a spark is needed to ignite grass and they have directed that work should be deferred until it is absolutely necessary.