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Firefighters urge fireworks caution in Hawke’s Bay: ‘The risk of wildfire is real’

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Lenticular clouds over the Puketapu Hills near Taradale this week – a week when the region started its summer dry-out. Photo / Paul Taylor

Hawke’s Bay firefighters have attended several minor firework-related incidents in the build-up to Guy Fawkes and are warning care is needed to avoid dangerous fires this weekend.

Ken Cooper, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Hawke’s Bay district manager, said many people would be aware of this week’s Pegasus Beach blaze, caused by fireworks.

It spread over 200 hectares and caused 130 people to evacuate the South Island settlement.

“In Hawke’s Bay we haven’t yet had any similar events, however, each year we do get a number of callouts to small fires that have been started by misuse of fireworks,” Cooper said.

“The risk is that small fires can become significant.”

Cooper said he appreciated people wanted to enjoy their weekends.

However, fireworks needed to be used responsibly, and people should follow instructions.

Parents and caregivers should also ensure that fireworks weren’t in the hands of children or people who shouldn’t use them.

“We’d rather people enjoy an organised display and stay safe,” he said.

“Fireworks can get carried in the wind, there are parts of Hawke’s Bay that are beginning to dry out as we head into the summer, so the risk of wildfire is real, it doesn’t take much to start.”

Consideration for others, people and animals, was also very important.

Probably the biggest public display of fireworks in the region will take place on Saturday night at Meeanee Speedway’s stockcar meet.

Blast in the Park in Havelock North’s Anderson Park is scheduled for Friday, November 11.

MetService meteorologist John Law said there will not be any significant winds this weekend, but Hawke’s Bay could still expect some light westerlies early on Saturday before they later turn into southerlies and then easterlies on Sunday.

The Napier City Council allows for fireworks to be set off outside of private property with some stipulations.

According to the council’s website, a person must not light or use an incendiary device where an uncontrolled fire may:

– spread to a building, fence or vegetation on the premises

– spread beyond the boundary of the premises

– result in a nuisance from smoke or ash to the occupiers of adjoining premises.

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