Change in fire season for Central Otago

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Change in fire season for Central Otago

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has updated the fire seasons for Central Otago.

As of Friday (2 October), it has declared a restricted season for the Central Zone (Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell, Wanaka, Lake Hawea, Nasby, Ranfurly, Kurow, Otematata, Omarama and Middlemarch).

A restricted fire season means any open-air fires need a permit.

Otago Principal Rural Fire Officer Graeme Still says, "high winds are forecast across Central Otago over the weekend, and with grass drying quickly across Central Otago, at this time of year a fire can start from the smallest spark, especially in rural and semi-rural areas.

"That’s why we are moving to a restricted season.

"We don’t want people lighting fires unless there’s little or no wind forecast."

Fire and Emergency is also encouraging residents to create safety zones for their homes. They can do this by keeping their lawns mowed, cleaning their gutters and removing leaves and twigs. Homeowners can reduce risk by removing anything that could burn like mulch, and other potentially dried vegetation off their properties.

After the weekend, if you need to light an open-air fire in Central Otago, head to checkitsalright.nz to see what types of fires you can light in your area.

"It is always important to check the weather forecast if you’re planning on lighting a fire," Mr Still says.