A total fire ban will be put in place across North Canterbury from Saturday, 25 January, as dry conditions and hot temperatures push the fire risk to extreme levels.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) is introducing a prohibited fire season from midnight Friday for the Christchurch City Council area (including Banks Peninsula) and the Selwyn, Hurunui and Waimakariri districts.
All current fire permits for these areas will be suspended from the afternoon of Friday 24 January.
This time of year is typically the height of the fire season and FENZ Deputy Rural Fire Officer Dale Wilhelm says the forecast for very high temperatures over the weekend and into the middle of next week, along with the lack of rain, have triggered the fire ban.
“Eastern parts of the South Island are very dry, as expected at this stage of the summer, but it’s really affecting the coastal areas in particular. In Christchurch, the dry areas are around the Airport, Port Hills and Godley Head.”
Keeping properties tidy and well maintained is important, Mr Wilhelm says, but people should avoid mowing lawns in the hottest part of the day and opt for cooler mornings instead.
“Lawn mowers can, and regularly do, cause fires. People should also avoid using machinery that could create a spark.”
Residents need to stay informed about the rules and be cautious, he says.
“We’ve had a number of incidents recently where fires have been lit without a permit and FENZ has had to respond. Just a few weeks ago a bonfire was lit on New Brighton Beach.
“People should know better. Obviously they’re not thinking through the potential consequences.”