25 Jun 2009

No prosecution over farm fire that got out of control

6:47 am on 25 June 2009

Canterbury Regional Council is not going to prosecute the owners of a North Otago farm, following an incident when a controlled burn near Kurow got out of control.

Tussock and scrub was being burned on Awakino Station in August last year. The fire spread to neighbouring land, which included a conservation area, damaging more than 380 hectares.

An investigation by the regional council showed that the station had a permit for the fire but had failed to notify the council or obtain a resource consent.

The council decided to prosecute, but then withdrew this after receiving more information about the incident including the role that local weather conditions played in causing the fire to spread out of control.

The council says it's aware that many farmers do not know they need to notify it if they intend to burn vegetation. It will consider how to improve their understanding of this.