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Fireworks pests cause midnight callout

Posted by SC Comments Off on Fireworks pests cause midnight callout

Part of burned area from fire, 31 December 2010

Fireworks were being let off all over Piha from an early hour on New Year’s Eve and it was not surprising that bang on midnight the fire siren went repeatedly and the volunteer crew was off to fight a fire in gorse opposite the look-out on Piha Hill. Fortunately the fire was accessible for the firefighters and was brought under control, but not before it came perilously close to houses and ash showered over houses on the opposite side of the road.

Urgent action is needed to curtail the proliferating use of fireworks throughout the summer. This callout mirrored the same scenario last New Year’s, but that fire on the Marawhara Ridge - caused by a marine flare – took hours to put out, destroyed hectares of good quality bush and cost $70,000.

Who are these fools that are letting off fireworks and flares?  Some are definitely coming from local houses. You would have thought locals would be aware enough of the fire risk and values of the bush not to be so stupid, but of course, many Piha locals let their houses over the peak of summer and maybe their renters don’t realise what they are doing. There are also people who drive to Piha and let off crackers from the beach and Domain, but it did seem last night, and over the preceding weeks, that many of the rockets were coming from residences.

The worst example we saw a few days before New Year;s Eve was lanterns being launched over the Waitakere Ranges from what looked like the Garden Road area.

Once upon a time we had an-on-the-ground fire ranger, Johnnie Byers, who could smell a fire miles away and would appear in the backyard to douse an errant BBQ. Now, it all seems hands off, but inevitably the long-suffering volunteer fire crews get pulled out of their parties or their beds, to risk life and limb to deal with the disasters caused by idiots.

So what needs to happen:

  • Enforced fire ban over the summer season
  • Bylaw prohibiting use of fire works
  • Education programme to alert property owners and the public about the rules and the dangers
  • On-the-ground surveillance and enforcement.

As Auckland Council, representative for the area, I will be pursuing all these over the coming months and will post results on this site.

Categories: issues, Uncategorized

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