Two new fire restrictions in place for Otago

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Two new fire restrictions in place for Otago

Fire and Emergency is putting the Central Fire Zone into a restricted season and banning private use of fireworks across the District (all of Otago).

Change in fire season for the Central Fire Zone

The area is moving to a restricted fire season, from 5 pm 22 December.

It was previously in an open fire season.

The Central Fire Zone includes the Upper Waitaki, lower Mackenzie Basin, Manuherekia, Upper Clutha, Maniototo and part of the Strath Taieri.

A restricted season means a permit will be required to light an open-air fire. If you need to apply for a permit, please use the ‘can I light a fire’ tool on www.checkitsalright.nz

While there has been a wet spring and start of summer, there is still a present fire danger around the District and that has prompted these changes, District Manager Phil Marsh says.

"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.

"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," he says.

Fire and Emergency recommends anyone wanting to know whether they can or cannot light a fire, or wanting to check what season they are in, to head to www.checkitsalright.nz for details.

There is also updated fire season information on the MetService app and website (www.metservice.com).

 Fireworks ban for all of Otago

As of 5 pm 22 December, members of the public are banned from using fireworks across all of Otago.

The restriction order is temporary and was put in place using Section 52 of the Fire and Emergency Act. Section 52 allows Fire and Emergency to prohibit or restrict certain activities, such as the use of fireworks.

District Manager Phil Marsh wants people to keep their fireworks locked away during the ban.

"While we understand visitors and locals want to celebrate the holidays and New Year with a bang, fireworks can potentially start devastating fires," he says.

"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."

Fire and Emergency wants locals and holidaymakers to have a fun and safe holiday period.

Phil Marsh says, "be cautious and follow the restrictions around fire. That will help keep you, your whanau and your friends safe."

No end date has been confirmed for the ban on fireworks in Otago.