Canterbury businesses close doors due to fears of fire risk

While Canterbury faces near-drought conditions, the fire risk has prompted some business to close their doors. 

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Around The Block Contracting haven’t been operating for two weeks. Source: 1 NEWS

Around the Block Contracting has suspended work for the past two weeks during the company's peak operating season due to fears of sparking fires.

The contractors say it will take days of rain before they can even consider getting back to work due to how dry the region is. 

"So there is just absolutely no green in there at all - just drying up through the heat," says Around the Block spokesperson Gerard Gibb. "So you can imagine just how fast the fire would run through it."

The company works on lifestyle blocks, mowing, mulching and maintaining up to 20-acre sections. It is having to forgo the busiest part of the year because the fire risk is too high.  

"The mower is designed to lift the grass off the ground so that it cuts and mulches better. It also sucks up stones or any little bit of foreign matter. Once it goes through the mulcher, then sparks pour out the back." 

David Berry, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Canterbury area commander, says many of the previous fires this season have been caused by machinery.

The continued dry conditions have meant the fires in Canterbury have only just been extinguished, weeks after they began.

"Once it gets starting, it's very hard to stop and can be deep rooted into the ground, and we've had to have bulldozers and diggers to dig up trees and things like that." 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is encouraging more contractors to think about postponing work or putting precautions in place at the very least. 

With no significant rainfall forecast, it could be some time before Around the Block gets back to work.