28 Jan 2015

Electric fences a fire risk

6:12 am on 28 January 2015

Farmers in the driest parts of the country are being urged to turn down the current in their electric fences to reduce the fire risk.

Hurunui District Council principal rural fire officer Allan Grigg said the number of fires in the area had exploded this summer, with more in the past two months than in the past three years.

He said property owners and people subdividing land needed to be aware of the fire danger as grass and vegetation became drier.

Mr Grigg said any sparks coming from electric fences were highly likely to start a fire.

"So two things land owners need to be aware of is number one, turn them down as much as they can, 3000 volts going through an electric fence with trained stock is any amount efficient but some of them are running 12,000 volts or higher.

"And so what that's doing is obviously there's more likelihood of a spark coming out and catching in tinder dry grass and they also need to be very aware of electric fences being any where near earth fences where they can jump across to the earth fence and that gives it the spark needed to start a fire."

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