12 new fires reported

As firefighters fought a vegetation fire covering more than 100ha in the Mackenzie district, Fire and Emergency New Zealand reported 12 new fires yesterday in Otago and Southland alone as old fires from a busy Thursday night started to flare up across the region.

A total fire ban was imposed last week in Canterbury but some burnoffs had been smouldering for weeks and reignited last night in high winds, a Fenz spokeswoman said.

The fire at Burkes Pass in the Mackenzie district was one of more than 25 fires in Canterbury, Otago and Southland that started overnight.

The Mackenzie District Council said only one land owner was affected and there was no current threat to houses from the Burkes Pass fire, which started near Fairlie-Tekapo Rd about 4am yesterday.

Fire conditions were expected to worsen over the weekend, with heatwave and windy conditions in parts of the country.

A forecast of extreme fire danger prompted a ban on all fires in Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes districts. All activities that caused sparks were also banned.

MetService meteorologist Tom Adams said the heat would peak tomorrow and temperatures should cool off by Tuesday in most areas.


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