Much of South Canterbury is moving into a restricted fire season today (Friday 20 January), meaning that a permit will be required to light most kinds of outdoor fires.
Fire and Emergency NZ has imposed the restrictions on the Ashburton High Country, Mackenzie Basin High Country and Hakataramea Valley. There is already a complete ban on setting off fireworks in the whole of the Mackenzie Basin, while there is a permanent restricted fire season in the Geraldine Forest Zone, Waimate Forest Zone and on all public conservation land.
Mid South Canterbury District Manager Rob Hands said that the new measures reflected the elevated fire danger caused by persistent hot, windy conditions and drying vegetation.
“The locals understand that there is a permanent risk of wildfire in this area, and we have been fielding requests to put restrictions in place so that visitors are made aware of the danger and can avoid accidentally starting a fire.”
Some types of fire, such as hangi and camp stoves, are still allowed in a restricted fire season provided people follow all the guidance on the www.checkitsalright.nz website. That site is also the place to quickly find out whether any kind of outdoor fire is allowed in any location, whether a permit is required, and get advice on how to use fire safely. Mr Hands said that farmers who applied for a permit to light a land management fire would find it was processed swiftly.