Six Easy Ways to Lose Your Fire Insurance
1. Leave a controlled burn unattended
Fires must be controlled until completely extinguished and / or unable to spread. If you leave a fire and it is subsequently proved that your presence could have prevented an uncontrolled outbreak, your actions may be judged as negligent, potentially voiding your insurance
2. Burning too closely to other combustible fuel
Fires should be lit at least 20 metres away from other combustible fuels. Stubble fire safety margins can be reduced to 10 metres as long as there are no thistles or other plants that could start a fire by ember travel.
3. Not having suitable fire suppression capability
It is expected that you have fire suppression capable of promptly extinguishing the size and type of fire you intend to light. New Zealand Fire Service and Rural Fire should be an emergency back up to your own arrangements.
4. Failure to check forecast weather conditions
Lighting a fire either during or before forecast unstable or strong weather conditions is irresponsible and makes a strong case for negligence where an insurance company is looking at a claim for a damage causing uncontrolled fire.
5. Burn without a Permit
Hurunui District has three different Rural Fire jurisdictions within its boundaries. Ashley Rural Fire District (ARFD) has jurisdiction over Balmoral and Ashley Forest plus several other forested areas. Department of Conservation (DOC) has jurisdiction over national parks and reserves, unalienated crown land (including most river beds), other specially protected sites and a one kilometre fire safety margin around these areas. Both of these agencies, ARFD and DOC, have fire restrictions active on their fire jurisdictions all year round. Even if the Hurunui District Council has an Open Fire Season, this does not apply to the jurisdictions identified above.
6. Fail to meet any special conditions of a fire permit
Depending upon weather conditions and the environment in which a planned fire is to be lit, special extra conditions may be set to increase the margin of safety. If these conditions are breached a clear case of negligence exists.