Coastal Southland and all of the Department of Conservation estate, including Stewart Island, have moved into a Prohibited Fire Season today.
Fire and Emergency District Manager Julian Tohiariki said that the indicators used for assessing fire danger had reached the threshold where a total ban on outdoor fires was required in these areas. The decision was made in consultation with DOC.
The rest of Southland remains in a Restricted Fire Season, where a permit is required for most outdoor fires.
“These restrictions reflect the extended dry weather and hot temperatures that we have been experiencing,” Julian Tohiariki said. “There is no significant rain forecast and the long-term outlook is for more of the same.”
Part of the Southland District is already experiencing water shortages, which would make firefighting more challenging if a vegetation fire broke out.
Anyone considering lighting any kind of outdoor fire should first look at the www.checkitsalright.nz website to see the local fire danger level and whether there are any restrictions in place before reaching for the matches. In circumstances where fires are permitted, it’s best to wait for more favourable conditions if the fire danger is high, very high or extreme. It’s also important to have basic firefighting equipment like a hose ready and be prepared to keep a close watch on the fire.