5 Nov 2018

Blazes blamed on Guy Fawkes fireworks

8:47 am on 5 November 2018

A spate of fires has been blamed on fireworks heading into Guy Fawkes celebrations tonight.

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Photo: 123RF

Fireworks went on sale on Friday for four days, and at the weekend there were fires in Canterbury, Hawke's Bay and another one in Wanaka that sparked the evacuation of six houses.

Fire and Emergency spokesperson Peter Gallagher said often more fireworks were set off in the days before and after Guy Fawkes than on the actual day.

Mr Gallagher said firefighters struggled to cope with emergency calls around the festivity each year.

"We don't have the capacity or ability to increase our staff levels, which makes the 5 November - where we receive multiple calls - a bit of a challenge to manage and prioritise those calls," he said.

He said it had been windy around the country but it's hard to judge how busy today would be.

Mr Gallagher said more people were stockpiling their fireworks, with New Year's Eve a popular time to set them off as well.

Tips to stay safe

  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Keep all unlit fireworks in their box or bag until you're ready to light them.
  • Don't light fireworks in windy or dry conditions.
  • Carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions before using any fireworks.
  • Point fireworks at the stars, not at people or anyone's home.
  • Keep a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher handy.
  • Leave dud or damaged fireworks alone.

- Fire and Emergency NZ