Otago fire season restrictions come into effect
A restricted fire season will come into effect in parts of Otago from this evening.
As of 5pm today a permit is needed to light an open-air fire in Otago's Central Fire Zone, which includes the Upper Waitaki, lower Mackenzie Basin, Manuherikia, Upper Clutha, Maniototo and part of the Strath Taieri.
Fire and Emergency's Otago district manager Phil Marsh said while spring was wet and there had been a wet start to summer, fire danger remained a threat in parts of the region.
"Looking at the area, there are several isolated spots around the Central Fire Zone that are already quite dry, and we are likely to see other areas dry up over the holiday period as well," he said.
"It only takes a spark to start a fire, and we want to do what we can to reduce the risks as much as possible."
At the same time a total ban on fireworks in Otago would also come into effect.
"While we understand visitors and locals want to celebrate the holidays and New Year with a bang, fireworks can potentially start devastating fires," he said.
"There are plenty of safe ways to celebrate the festive season, and we just want to make it clear, using fireworks is not one of them."
No end date had been set for the end of the ban.
Marsh encouraged people to remain safe over the holiday period and check www.checkitsalright.nz before lighting any fires.
"Be cautious and follow the restrictions around fire. That will help keep you, your whānau and your friends safe," he said.