Wanaka teenagers (from left), James Simpkin (14), Callum
Rennie (14), Lewis Brooks (14) and Dougal Stalker (13) cool
off in Lake Wanaka yesterday afternoon. Photo by Mark
Another fine day with warm temperatures across Otago
yesterday has helped raise concerns about the lighting of
The Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Department of
Conservation will stop issuing fire permits for two weeks
from tomorrow and the same applies in the Central Otago
district from Sunday.
Department of Conservation Wakatipu rural fire officer Jamie
Cowan explained yesterday that enclosed fires with chimneys
and devices such as charcoal and gas-fired burners were
allowed, although he urged common sense in their use.
A decision not to issue permits had the same effect as
imposing a total fire ban - also known as a prohibited fire
season - but did not need to be gazetted and could therefore
be more easily relaxed if conditions allowed.
Queenstown Lakes District Council communications manager
Meaghan Miller said yesterday the council and Doc had been
reviewing the fire risk this week but considered things were
''a little bit green yet'' to justify a total fire ban.
''But it will happen. It's just a matter of whether it's just
before or just after Christmas. But we're not quite there
Last summer a total fire ban was imposed on January 6. The
council and the department have warned that anyone causing a
fire that gets out of control could be liable for the costs
of putting it out.
Temperatures yesterday reached 25degC in Alexandra, 23degC in
Cromwell, Wanaka and Ranfurly and 22degC in Queenstown.
Central Otago orchardists said a series of hot days this week
had ''speeded up'' the fruit season. After a cold snap a
couple of weeks ago, and following a cool spring, they said
the season had slowed down and the harvest was estimated at
being about a week behind usual.
''These past few hot days and warmer evening temperatures
mean the harvest won't be as late as we thought,'' cherry
grower Hugh Dendy, of Cromwell, said this week.