A firefighter works on hot spots in the Pigeon Valley fire. Photo: NZDF.

Mowing, welding and chainsaw use banned across region

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Farmers, contractors and anyone using certain types of outdoor machinery in part of the Nelson Tasman region will need to halt their activities because of the extreme fire danger.

Civil Defence controller Rob Smith says that one spark could be enough to cause a fire in these conditions so he has issued a directive under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act that the following high-risk activities are prohibited in a defined area for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Prohibited activities include:

  • Those where metal meets stone: mowing, discing, harrowing, stump grinding and cultivation.
  • Outdoor activities that can generate sparks or fire are also prohibited, and include gas cutting, welding, angle grinding, and all use of chainsaws and scrub/bar cutters.
  • Commercial forest harvesting activities are also to cease, however provision can be made for the loading and mobilising of harvested material from landings.

The prohibition is now in effect in all of Nelson and the Waimea and Motueka Valleys and applies to a range of activities including mowing and the use of chainsaws and scrub cutters.

Rob says he is mindful that this would cause some inconvenience, but it was an essential precaution to help prevent more fires during the current period of extreme fire danger.

“Landowners should be aware that many activities on land can cause fires and people should take action and be aware of what constitutes good fire management protocol. For example, not parking vehicles on long, dry grass, disposing of cigarette butts inside your car, mowing domestic lawns, and making sure electric fences are not arcing.

“We are not expecting this directive to limit activities where there is adequate (pressurised) fire control available, or those activities not generating fire risk such as horticultural spraying or feeding stock.

Rob says he will be talking with Federated Farmers and other industry groups and local contractors to enlist their cooperation.

The prohibition will be reviewed this coming Tuesday, when the present Civil Defence declared emergency is reviewed.