Home' Central Canterbury News : March 13th 2013 Contents 2 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, MARCH 13, 2013
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CHARITY HAIRCUT: Rolleston
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Ignore fire ban, you could pay
Blazing: A recent fire near Selwyn Rd.
Photo: KIRK HARGREAVES
On look-out: Selwyn civil defence chief
Douglas Marshall. Photo: DAVID HALLETT
By ANNA PRICE
TRANSGRESSORS WHO flout fire
bans in the Selwyn district stand to
be stung at least $500 a time.
The new get-tough stance is in
response to the havoc caused by
three big scrub fires that raged
across tinder-dry country in Selwyn,
in early January.
The overall cost of fighting the
blazes at Broadfields, Thompsons
Rd, and Range Rd, at Burnham, ran
This included the cost of helicop-
ters with monsoon buckets and eye
in the sky capability.
Strong support was expected today
from councillors for the staff rec-
ommendation to charge for rural fire-
fighting response for suppression
and mop up costs.
Selwyn corporate services man-
ager, Douglas Marshall, the district s
civil defence boss, said the money
would go to the local fire
service that responded.
This will acknowledge the volun-
teers who were called out to an
incident that should not have hap-
pened, he said.
At times, on small-claim costs
where the fire brigade gets called
out, particularly when a person
lights a fire in restricted and pro-
hibited areas, there are often no con-
sequences for their action.
The staff report calls for the
property owner or fire starter to
stump up with a minimum $500 for
any action that has wasted rural fire
authority time by breaching a
restricted or prohibited fire season.
Genuine 111 calls are excluded.
We re talking about those small
callouts where someone lights a fire
thinking they ll get away with it, Mr
Not every person accepts that
rules should apply to them during a
restricted or prohibited fire season.
This charge, if proven, will recognise
their behaviour is not acceptable and
they need to be responsible finan-
cially for efforts of the fire services
The cost of the big January
fires break down to $100,000
(Selwyn Rd, Broadfields), $28,000
(Thompsons Rd) and $24,000 (Range
Charges to the council from the
Fire Service, Rural Fire Authority
(including council), or contractors
helping suppress or mopping up a
rural fire will be recovered from
either the rural fire fighting fund,
the property owner (where a fire
starts), or fire starter, if councillors
run with the recommendation.
The new move was signalled in
January by principal rural fire
officer, Wilson Brown.
He said the council would incur
most of the bill, as other agencies
involved in fighting the fire would
charge it for their expenses.
The council would then attempt to
recover its money by applying to the
rural firefighting fund or charging
whoever was responsible for starting
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