As North Otago dries out following a spell of hot, dry
weather, Civil Defence staff in Waitaki are implementing a
harsher approach to issuing fire permits, but are stopping
short of issuing a fire ban.
Waitaki Civil Defence emergency services manager Chris Raine
said fire risk in the Waitaki ranged from moderate to high,
with some inland areas, including Omarama, and the Inch
Valley, near Palmerston, ''very dry''.
''It's drying out and we are not getting any rain in the
forecast, so conditions are going to steadily deteriorate
over the next week. The long-range forecast is showing some
rain towards the end of next week, but it's still some time
away and forecast models still have to develop a bit.''
Mr Raine said although a total fire ban was not in place,
Waitaki was still under a ''restricted fire season''.
Fire permits would still be issued, but a more ''selective''
process would be implemented.
''We are not issuing any permits for people wanting to burn
stumps, because we don't want any fires to be going at
''We are going to interrogate the applicants probably more
significantly than in the past, because we can't afford to
have any fire break out and take off in grass, because it
will keep travelling at the moment.''
Despite a series of hot days in Twizel, Mackenzie District
Civil Defence emergency services manager Ray Gardner said
conditions in the Mackenzie Basin were still below the
trigger point for fire restrictions, mainly due to low winds.
''We have had some days where if we had had a fire we would
have had some quite erratic fire behaviour.
''There is always a risk in the Mackenzie Basin. While we
have got the potential there, we are certainly not in a high
hazard time at the moment.''
However, if high norwesterlies were to arrive the situation
could change ''very quickly'', he said.
The temperature in Twizel has topped 30degC four times in the
past seven days. MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said
a similar pattern, with temperatures of about 30degC, could
be expected for the next two to four days.