Selwyn fire chiefs are surprised the army will start live firing again today at the scene of last week's big West Melton blaze.
The first fire bosses knew of it was when they read it on news websites yesterday, they told The Star.
Selwyn District Council principal rural fire officer Wilson Brown said he wasn't told by the army about the live firing resumption.
"There was no consultation. They don't have to ask and they didn't ask."
The Defence Force sent a letter to residents living near the West Melton rifle range saying it had been cleared for live rifle firing.
Sixty firefighters and six helicopters with monsoon buckets were needed to bring a huge blaze under control last Wednesday after it was started by a hand grenade during live training.
Houses were threatened and people evacuated.
The Defence Force is expected to be billed for the estimated $200,000 cost of the fire..
Hand grenades will not be used during today's live firing exercise, the army said.
A Defence Force spokeswoman told The Star the army's own fire service had cleared the rifle range for today's live firing, which they were legally able to do on their own property.
West Melton Residents Association chairman Bruce Russell said residents are still very concerned with what happened last week.
"I can't see a problem with them continuing their live firing but there will be serious repercussions if they start using grenades and start another fire. We don't have any control over the range.
"The fire risk remains high out here. It's the driest the area's been for several years."
But West Melton resident, Kenna Bassett-Smith, who lives near the rifle range, said: ``That really is shocking. I am really surprised they are going to resume because there has been no rain at all. They need to wait until we have a have some rain.
``If they start again tomorrow (today) I will definitely be complaining,'' said Mrs Bassett-Smith.
Last week's fire was frightening, she said.
``... looking out the window and seeing an orange glow. The children had their teddy bears and we had a old photos packed ready to go and that kind of thing,''.
But Weedons Ross Rd resident Suzanne Inkson, who was evacuated last week, said she was okay with live firing resuming as long as the army reevaluated it each day according to the weather.
``We know that when they are doing their rifle shooting that they shoot it at a dirt hill which is clear of any scrub, so that is ok,'' she said.
``As long as they take the necessary precautions. If the weather changes and it gets hot dry and windy, they need to stop
In its letter to residents, the army says it will monitor weather conditions closely and will not be using grenades or any other high explosives at the range until fire conditions have ``significantly reduced. The safety of our neighbours as well as our own personnel is vitally important to us,'' the letter says.
``The decision not to resume grenade training at this time but recommence ordinary rifle training is a balanced response.
``This will allow NZ Army soldiers to continue to train and prepare for their operational commitments.''
Five houses near West Melton aerodrome were evacuated and nearby property owners were told to prepare to leave after the fire broke out around noon.
It made its way onto a neighbouring pig farm and 50ha were affected.
Incident controller Sergeant Greg Fagg said they had taken measures to prevent a fire from starting, but the blaze had done ``exactly what it shouldn't have done''.