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By ROBYN BRISTOW

Fires can be lit only with a permit in the Waimakariri and Hurunui districts.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Bruce Janes is appealing to people to resist the urge to put a match to their burn piles of garden and household rubbish.

generally only issuing permits to priority burns such as crop stubble and land management burns.

“To stop false calls, we are requiring nearly all permit-holders to ring the fire communication centre to advise of lighting their burn. We appreciate people are at home, and what better time to hold off until after the lockdown so we don’t have a whole lot of unnecessary exposure

“We urge people to consider the appropriateness of any burning at this time.”

Mr Janes says any fire is likely to result in a smoke report, with more people being at home. This then results in fire crews leaving their family bubble to investigate.

“This in turn has the potential to jeopardise the health and safety of the wider community,” Mr Janes says.

He says volunteers don’t have a bottomless supply of personal protective equipment, such as masks and sanitiser, given that the country’s other essential services require the same products.

The restricted season came in at midnight on March 12 in the Waimakariri and Hurunui districts. Any open-air fires must have an approved permit and conditions on the permit must be met.

To check if a fire needs a permit, go online to checkitsalright.nz.