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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Masterton

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Brigades under the pump

Fire crews across the region were stretched thin on the first day of Wairarapa’s fire restriction season as they dealt with several incidents yesterday.

Trucks from Martinborough, Carterton, and Greytown responded to a grassfire in Martinborough that was initially reported at about 3.20 pm.

The fire was brought under control shortly before 5pm.

A “second-alarm grass fire” in Gladstone resulted in trucks being dispatched from Carterton, Masterton, Greytown, Wainuioru, Mauriceville, Remutaka, and Palmerston North.

The call was logged at about 3.40pm and, as of 5.20pm, had still not been under control.

“At 4pm, the fire was approximately 350m x 350m in size,” a Fire and Emergency spokesperson said.

Billowing white smoke from the grass fire was visible from kilometres away as multiple appliances attended the job, and further operational vehicles were en route when Times-Age left the incident.

Another fire in West Taratahi, Carterton district, required a response from the Masterton brigade, although “upon arrival, the one crew from Masterton found this had been put out by occupants”, the Fenz spokesperson said.

The fire restriction season started yesterday in Wairarapa, meaning that anybody planning on lighting an open-air fire will need a permit.

As previously reported, the region has started to dry out with fire conditions set to become more dangerous as forecast higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, and windier El Nino weather patterns begin.

Wellington District community risk manager Phil Soal said fires earlier in the season have thankfully been small and relatively easy to control.

“As the fire danger continues to increase, it becomes more difficult to control fires, especially with the wind we have been experiencing.

“If you have a permit, follow the conditions listed on your permit,” Soal said.

Anybody wishing to light a fire this season is being urged by Fire and Emergency to check the weather conditions.

“If it’s hot and windy, do not light a fire, even if you have a permit,” Soal said.

  • You can apply for an open-fire permit – as well as get tips on how to stay ‘fire safe’ – at www.checkitsalright.nz.

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