'Crazy' day for Sth Island fire crews

Farmers and rural householders are being warned about starting fires after a "crazy" seven hours by South Island firefighters tackling small rural blazes today.

A spate of grass and bush fires kept firefighters on their toes all day, as the dry conditions across the Canterbury region left large swathes of the countryside tinder-dry.

Two reports of separate fires in the Oxford and south Canterbury areas shortly before 12.30pm had the Fire Service scrambling for resources, southern fire communications shift manager Rewai Grace said.

"Thankfully they ended up being quite small," he said.

Mr Grace warned that people needed to be more responsible when conditions were so dry.

"One was a farmer who had a bit of a controlled burn. He has been spoken to in a very firm but nice way about the fire and how dangerous it is at the moment," he said.

"I think people forget they are liable for costs if they're reckless....It can cost a lot of money."

Firefighters had been tackling lots of little fires all day across the South Island, he said, but thankfully none had got out of control.

"It's been crazy, it hasn't stopped."

- Patrice Dougan of NZME. News Service

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