Total fire ban to remain

THE region’s fire authorities have no plans to lift the total fire ban that has been in place in the district for nearly a month, despite five days of rain and showers forecast next week.

MetService’s 10-day forecast shows wet weather for five days from next Wednesday and the chance of showers over this weekend.

“We reassessed the fire risk situation and the total fire ban earlier this week and decided to keep it in force,” said principal rural fire officer Ray Dever.

“Despite the rain in the past week, it is not really that wet around the district.

“All the longer dry grass has dried out again and the grass fire level has gone up again after falling with the recent wet weather.”

Mr Dever said on the wet days the grass fire risk was down, but it only needed six hours of sunshine and warmth to go back up again.

“The scrub fire danger around the district never really dropped, despite all the rain.”

The latest fire/weather summary from MetService shows Hicks Bay has a forest fire risk of low but the scrub fire risk is rated extreme and the grass fire risk medium.

At RIP Station inland from Ruatoria, the forest risk was low, scrub high, and grass low.

At Pouawa the forest was low, scrub extreme, and grass medium.

In Gisborne city, the three categories were low, variable and medium; Mahia was medium, extreme, medium; Wharekopae was low, high, low; and the Whareratas was low, extreme, medium.

“If we get a dry spell with high temperatures, the risk levels will be be back to square one within two or three days,” Mr Dever said.

“The low-to-medium risk areas would rise again very rapidly.”

Compliance with the total fire ban had so far been very good.

“The average person has been supportive and obeyed the restriction, which has been very pleasing.”

Mr Dever has previously described this as a “challenging” fire season.

The total ban makes it illegal to light a fire in the open anywhere and at any time across the region.

THE region’s fire authorities have no plans to lift the total fire ban that has been in place in the district for nearly a month, despite five days of rain and showers forecast next week.

MetService’s 10-day forecast shows wet weather for five days from next Wednesday and the chance of showers over this weekend.

“We reassessed the fire risk situation and the total fire ban earlier this week and decided to keep it in force,” said principal rural fire officer Ray Dever.

“Despite the rain in the past week, it is not really that wet around the district.

“All the longer dry grass has dried out again and the grass fire level has gone up again after falling with the recent wet weather.”

Mr Dever said on the wet days the grass fire risk was down, but it only needed six hours of sunshine and warmth to go back up again.

“The scrub fire danger around the district never really dropped, despite all the rain.”

The latest fire/weather summary from MetService shows Hicks Bay has a forest fire risk of low but the scrub fire risk is rated extreme and the grass fire risk medium.

At RIP Station inland from Ruatoria, the forest risk was low, scrub high, and grass low.

At Pouawa the forest was low, scrub extreme, and grass medium.

In Gisborne city, the three categories were low, variable and medium; Mahia was medium, extreme, medium; Wharekopae was low, high, low; and the Whareratas was low, extreme, medium.

“If we get a dry spell with high temperatures, the risk levels will be be back to square one within two or three days,” Mr Dever said.

“The low-to-medium risk areas would rise again very rapidly.”

Compliance with the total fire ban had so far been very good.

“The average person has been supportive and obeyed the restriction, which has been very pleasing.”

Mr Dever has previously described this as a “challenging” fire season.

The total ban makes it illegal to light a fire in the open anywhere and at any time across the region.

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