As Dunedin city dries out in the warm temperatures, people
need to be more careful about any backyard burning, the Otago
Regional Council warns.
The Young Valley and Gillespie Pass Circuit status has
returned to normal, after the lifting of a high alert by the
Department of Conservation yesterday.
Showers over much of Central Otago yesterday morning did
little to ease the fire risk, but cherry growers were happy
northwest winds followed the rain.
Tinder dry conditions brought on by several days of soaring
temperatures across the Queenstown Lakes have rocketed fire
risk concerns in the district to extreme levels.
Despite light southerly rain yesterday afternoon, the fire
risk in Wakatipu will revert to "high" or "very high" status
by the weekend, rural fire monitors predict.
Nine of the 22 Arrowtown Volunteer Fire Brigade members have
now been trained in co-response, partly thanks to a donation
from Altrusa Queenstown.
The late summer is causing the fire risk in inland South
Canterbury and North Otago to rocket, leading to total fire
bans in some areas.
A total fire ban has been declared for Dunedin for the first
time since 2004, with residents reminded to be extra careful
when disposing of cigarette butts, or using lawnmowers during
the dry conditions.
The fire risk in Central Otago is worsening daily and a
prohibited fire season will be imposed if there is no rain in
the next few days.
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