Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Strath Taieri Zone moves to prohibited fire season

Strath Taieri Zone moves to prohibited fire season

The Strath Taieri Zone is moving to a prohibited fire season from 8am on Saturday 10 February, until further notice.

A prohibited fire season means no open-air fires are allowed and all fire permits are suspended.

Declaring the fire season change, Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Otago District Manager Phil Marsh says hot, dry, and windy weather has dried up most of the vegetation in the area.

"The Strath Taieri is predominantly grassland, with grey shrubland on hills and in gullies, and tussock on higher elevations, which are all prone to burning easily once dry," he says.

"We expect vegetation to dry out further as the hot, windy conditions continue through summer and into autumn.

"These are the conditions where wildfires start easily and can quickly get out of control," he says.

"We also have a history of large, fast-moving fires in the area at this time of year."

Phil Marsh asks that people are cautious in these conditions and do not carry out activities that pose a fire risk, such as mowing, welding, and driving through long grass.

"But if you must mow your lawn or undertake any farm activity that’s likely to generate sparks, do it first thing in the morning when it is still cool," he says.

People can also take simple steps to make their properties easier to defend against fire.

This includes:

- Clearing flammable material from 10m around homes and buildings.

- Moving firewood stacked against houses

- Clearing gutters of dried leaves etc that will easily catch fire

- Clearing flammable material from under decks

- Trimming trees and bushes and removing the trimmings

- Keeping grass short (using a trimmer with a nylon line is safer in these conditions than a mower or trimmer with a metal blade that could create a spark)

Go to for further tips on how to stay fire safe.