Posted by: Matthew | January 16, 2010

Let’s pray for a fire ban season

Northland is tinder dry at the moment and yet it is still having problems with people defying the fire bans.

In South Australia I was used to the December to April firebans, and you get respite from both the winter woodburners and the idiot burner-offerers all summer. In the suburban regions burning off has been illegal since I was a kid anyway. The Adelaide Hills has Springs where everyone is busy pruning in readiness for the summer bushfire season. Myself included. I mulched my prunings through a chipper and chucked them on my gardens. Other people did burn, but the rules are different there. You had to get a permit. The permit only lasted for a single day. You had to be present at the fire at all times. You could only burn between 9am and 5pm (it had to be fully extinguished by 5pm) and you couldn’t burn on a Sunday. People did burn, but they would have an annual fire, and they’d dry the wood first and either leave it in piles away from the house to burn in autumn or they’d burn it off in Spring. Yeah it sucked if you had one go off near you, but they were usually over quickly. I helped my neighbour do one of his ( to get it out the way quicker and to give him a hand) and it was large, and dry, and went from a pile of wood to coals within an hour. Definitely no plastic in his fire. Kiwis don’t know how to burn. They burn too often. They burn green. They burn wet. They burn in the early mornings. They burn late at night. They burn on the weekends. They let their fires smoke and smoulder.  They leave their fires unattended. They burn plastic. They burn off too close to their neighbours houses. I’m no longer scared of bushfires like I used to be living in the Adelaide Hills, but I am scared of a run away grass fire coming through my neighbours’ paddocks. He’s hay making in that paddock. It’s browning off. And he’s all set to burn off again. If he burns down my house he’ll be paying for every last cent, and then extra for all the heartache he’d cause. Plus, one would hope, he might actually get fined for burning plastic this time.

Mulch your cuttings, and chuck them on the garden as weed and moisture control. Take your rubbish to the dump. Don’t smoke out your neighbours. It isn’t hard.

I’ve notice that it’s starting to dry off around parts of the district. It’s time for a summer fire ban declaration in Kapiti.

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