Change in fire season for much of Canterbury

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Change in fire season for much of Canterbury

Christchurch City, Banks Peninsula, Selwyn and North Canterbury will move to open fire season status from midnight Saturday (2 May).

Principal Rural Fire Officer Bruce Janes says while the fire seasons are changing, Fire and Emergency New Zealand is asking people to think twice before lighting an open-air fire.

"While we know essential industries like farmers will still need to light fires as part of their land management, we would appreciate if people would hold off lighting non-essential fires for a couple more weeks while we remain under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

"Now is the time to be more vigilant than ever to avoid an upturn in the spread of the virus."

Bruce Janes says even if a fire is permitted and under control, the smoke often generates a 111 call from the public, meaning firefighters need to leave their bubble to deal with an avoidable fire.

Across the Canterbury and Christchurch Metro Areas were attended nearly 60 rubbish fires during the Level 4 lockdown, this compared to 20 across the same period last year.

"We know that weather conditions have been good across Canterbury and that burning is an easy way to dispose of waste, but we would prefer Cantabrians hold off a few more weeks.

Bruce Janes is also recommending people check in with their local councils as to whether refuse stations are open during the Level 3 lockdown.