26 Nov 2009

Central Otago farmers urged to take fire precautions

5:48 am on 26 November 2009

Central Otago's rural fire authority is asking farmers to take water with them on the farm in a bid to prevent accidentally lit fires from getting out of control.

A fire ban will come into effect on Saturday in the region, two months earlier than last year. No fires except gas barbecues will be allowed in the open.

Firefighters say they've been called out to three fires in four days this week. The latest started when an orchardist mowing grass hit a rock that caused a spark, burning more than a hectare of pasture.

The region's principal rural fire officer, Owen Burgess, says if a fire is picked up by a strong nor-west wind it takes a long time to put out. He advises farmers to keep water the tractor with them or have a trailer with water on it.