Open fire season declared

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North Canterbury will move to an open fire season from midnight Saturday (May 2).
But Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) is asking people to think twice before lighting up.
Principal Rural Fire Officer Bruce Janes says while the fire season is changing, people are asked to hold off lighting non-essential fires for a couple more weeks while New Zealand remains under Covid-19, Alert Level 3.
He says smoke often generates a 111 call from the public, meaning firefighters need to leave their bubble to deal with an avoidable fire, he says.
“Now is the time to be more vigilant than ever to avoid an upturn in the spread of the virus.”
Mr Janes says FENZ knows essential industries like farming, need to light fires as part of land management regimes.
“But we would appreciate if people would hold off lighting non-essential fires for a couple more weeks while we remain under Covid-19 Alert Level 3.
“We know that weather conditions have been good across Canterbury and that burning is an easy way to dispose of waste, but we would prefer Cantabrians to hold off a few more weeks.”
He is also recommending people check in with their local councils as to whether refuse stations are open during the Level 3 lockdown so they can take their rubbish there instead of burning it.
Across the Canterbury and Christchurch Metro Areas FENZ attended nearly 60 rubbish fires during the Level 4 lockdown, compared to 20 during the same period last year.