A total fire ban imposed across Waitaki will stay in place
for at least a large part of today, as rural firefighters
continue to warn farmers of the dangers of conducting
burn-offs in windy conditions.
Civil Defence authorities in Waitaki imposed a total fire ban
in the district yesterday, in the wake of a severe gale
warning issued for Otago. The MetService had forecast
northwesterly gales of up to 120kmh were possible in exposed
areas of Otago, and Waitaki Civil Defence emergency services
manager Chris Raine said the ban would remain in place until
the weather system dissipated.
Fires must not be lit until the all-clear has been given.
''We have issued a severe weather warning today. We have told
people not to light any fires today until this present
weather system goes through.''
Yesterday's ban came just a day after Waitaki rural
firefighters fought a 200sq m blaze for about five hours on
Mr Raine said that fire had been caused by a burn-off on a
farm in Georgetown spreading to a nearby stand of trees.
''We understand the farmer concerned probably did not meet
the burn conditions.
''If people have permits and they are burning legitimately we
don't have an issue with it. We do if climatic conditions are
against it, because they will be in breach of permit
He cautioned farmers not to light fires in breach of permit
conditions, which prohibited the lighting of fires in wind of
more than 9kmh.