Open air fire ban comes into effect for parts of Otago


Lighting open air fires is being banned in parts of Otago from today, due to an extreme fire danger forecast over the weekend.

Lindis Pass View at the Highway 8, New Zealand, South Island, NZ

Fire and Emergency says the vegetation growth caused by the wet start to summer is now rapidly drying out. Photo: 123RF

Areas affected include the land surrounding Lake Wakatipu, to the west and north of Lakes Wānaka and Hāwea, the Upper Waitaki, and Lower Mackenzie Basin.

The change means no permits will be issued and those previously issued are no longer valid.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) said a wet start to summer had caused significant vegetation growth, but that was rapidly drying out.

FENZ Otago district manager Phil Marsh said holidaymakers may be less aware of the serious fire danger in the Central Otago and Lakes zones.

He encouraged anyone unsure of the current risks to use the ‘can I light a fire?’ tool on the Check It’s Alright website.

Locals would also need to consider the risks and current conditions before undertaking spark or heat-generating activities like mowing, Marsh said.

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