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Take care cooking kai in hāngī and other underground ovens this summer because of the fire risk, Fire and Emergency New Zealand says.
While these cultural cooking methods are a common feature of festive celebrations, the fire service's kaupapa Māori national manager, Piki Thomas, says it is important to remember some key safety tips, especially as most of the country will have fire restrictions in place.
"Hāngī, umu and lovo bring whānau and friends together in the festive season. You don’t need a permit for hāngī or umu in a restricted season if you follow our safety tips for preparing underground ovens in the hot dry summer months," he says.
"Make sure your hāngī, umu or lovo is at least three metres away from structures like any part of a building, hedge, shelter belt or any other combustible material.
"Have a water hose handy to put your fire out if it gets out of control.
"Let your neighbours know you’re going to light a fire. Once they know where the smoke is coming from and the fire is under control and being monitored, they won’t feel they need to call the fire brigade."
Fire and Emergency New Zealand have also created an online tool to make it easier to check fire risk and if permits are needed to light fires over the summer. This is available at www.checkitsalright.nz.