Winds fan remnants of bonfire

File picture

A FIRE that spread from driftwood to grass and scrub along the northern banks of the Waipaoa River at the end of Centennial Marine Drive on Saturday was apparently started by a bonfire left burning on the beach.

Fire and Emergency NZ sent four appliances from the city brigade and several rural fire crews to the rivermouth at midday.

“The remains of the bonfire were fanned by the strong south-easterly winds and embers spread to ignite driftwood on the beach,” a senior firefighter said.

“The flames spread from there to involve grass and scrub along the river stopbank.

“It covered an area of about 100 metres by 30 metres and took a bit of putting out.”

The city fire crews were there for about an hour and a half, and the rural fire crews stayed for most of the afternoon.

“There was a digger left nearby and it was threatened by the fire at one stage,” the senior firefighter said.

“We were able to stop it spreading to the machine.”

Bonfires on the beach are prohibited under the restricted fire season that came into force on Saturday morning.

“We will not allow any beach bonfires and we ask the public to immediately report any they see to us,” said principal rural fire officer Ray Dever. “Without exception they will be put out.”

He thanked the fire crews involved in handling Saturday’s riverbank fire.

“They did a great job.”

Under the restricted fire season, permits are required for any fire in the open, anywhere and at any time.

“Permits must be obtained from the Gisborne District Council and we will decline most permits for backyard burning in Gisborne city, where the fire risk is now in summer mode,” Mr Dever said.

“We will still allow cooking fires in the backyard but only with a permit, and only if the fire meets permit requirements.”

A FIRE that spread from driftwood to grass and scrub along the northern banks of the Waipaoa River at the end of Centennial Marine Drive on Saturday was apparently started by a bonfire left burning on the beach.

Fire and Emergency NZ sent four appliances from the city brigade and several rural fire crews to the rivermouth at midday.

“The remains of the bonfire were fanned by the strong south-easterly winds and embers spread to ignite driftwood on the beach,” a senior firefighter said.

“The flames spread from there to involve grass and scrub along the river stopbank.

“It covered an area of about 100 metres by 30 metres and took a bit of putting out.”

The city fire crews were there for about an hour and a half, and the rural fire crews stayed for most of the afternoon.

“There was a digger left nearby and it was threatened by the fire at one stage,” the senior firefighter said.

“We were able to stop it spreading to the machine.”

Bonfires on the beach are prohibited under the restricted fire season that came into force on Saturday morning.

“We will not allow any beach bonfires and we ask the public to immediately report any they see to us,” said principal rural fire officer Ray Dever. “Without exception they will be put out.”

He thanked the fire crews involved in handling Saturday’s riverbank fire.

“They did a great job.”

Under the restricted fire season, permits are required for any fire in the open, anywhere and at any time.

“Permits must be obtained from the Gisborne District Council and we will decline most permits for backyard burning in Gisborne city, where the fire risk is now in summer mode,” Mr Dever said.

“We will still allow cooking fires in the backyard but only with a permit, and only if the fire meets permit requirements.”

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