OPINION: Rural NZ is again getting the rough end of the stick when it comes to services - this time in relation to Covid-19 vaccinations.
Southland’s principal rural fire officer Timo Bierlin says even well controlled burns will cause issues at present, because people see the smoke and dial 111 in the belief they are reporting an escaped fire.
Brigades will always turn out to 111 calls and have the protective gear and procedures to do this safely.
“But we would like our firefighters to stay safe in their bubbles and not have to respond to avoidable fires just now,” says Bierlin.
Strong nor-westerly winds are forecast across Otago and Southland today and into tomorrow, which would elevate the risk of any planned land management fires getting out of control.
Crews have already responded to four vegetation fires in the region since lockdown began, and Timo Bierlin is keen to avoid any more while the region remains in COVID alert level four.
"We understand that many people will be using their time to get on with projects around the property and this might normally mean farmers clearing vegetation or people lighting a fire to get rid of greenwaste. We just ask that people do the right thing and hold off burning until we get out of lockdown."