After one of the hottest summers on record which saw fire restrictions put in place, Tararua District is now back to an Open Fire Season.
While this is good news, it does raise one or two questions: How does someone find out what the current fire season is, and where do they go to apply for a permit?
Last year rural and urban fire services amalgamated and came together under the umbrella of Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).
This saw new legislation come into effect, replacing the Fire Service Act 1975 and the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977. Under the old legislation urban areas were funded by the NZ Fire Service, while rural services were funded by bodies like the Tararua District Council.
While the amalgamation brought no noticeable changes to service for residents in the Tararua District, it was at this time that the Tararua Rural Fire Authority was merged with the Wairarapa Rural Fire District to become the "Wairarapa – Tararua Rural Fire District for Fire and Emergency".
Today, Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer, Clayton Locke, says the amalgamation is working well.
"Working with Wairarapa has allowed volunteers to attend a wider range of emergencies and if a disaster happened here we know we can get greater assistance to help with it.
"Everyone on the ground has accepted the changes and can see the benefits going forward."
While the amalgamation has been welcomed, some people are now unsure where to go if they want to apply for a permit or check on current fire restrictions.
Previously people would contact Council for information but that has now changed.
Mr Locke explained that everything regarding fire seasons, permits and general information around safety can be found on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand website - www.checkitsalright.nz - or by calling 0800 658 628.