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Garden Clean up Recommended to Reduce Fire Hazard

Canterbury’s rural fire fighters are calling on residents toclean up garden and vegetation areas, following the hot early summer weather. Canterbury/West Coast Rural Fire Co-ordinating Committee Chair, Wilson Brown, says the wet winter has caused excessive vegetation growth, while the early summer northwesters have started drying out this vegetation, adding to the growing fire risk.

“The heavy rains this winter have encouraged large amounts of growth, which in turn, has now been drying out over the last month or so. We have had a week of cooler weather but once the rain stops for the summer, the vegetation will continue to
grow and then dry out. By cleaning out gardens now, it eliminates possible fuel around homes and properties.”

Landowners and residents are advised to clear away all vegetation close to houses and outbuildings, including dead plants and long branches on live trees and shrubs. Long grass should be mowed and empty sections should be cleared.

Mr Brown said residents should also be mowing their lawns on a regular basis.

“This fire season is shaping up to be a busy one for rural fire fighters and we need people to help us out by clearing their gardens now,” says Wilson Brown.

Rural Fire Officers are also advising people to reduce the fire risk around their homes by cleaning rain gutters and down pipes and connecting a garden hose for immediate use. In rural areas, water supplies should be sign posted and there should be clear
access routes suitable for fire trucks.

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