Fire ban remains, despite rainfall

The Waitaki district still has a total fire ban, despite some people thinking they can light fires after rain at the weekend.

Waitaki District Council emergency services manager Chris Raine said yesterday fire danger indices remained very high.

They were still climbing yesterday, especially in the coastal area around Oamaru and inland to Windsor.

About 12mm of rain fell in about six hours from Saturday night.

Mr Raine said some people mistakenly believed the rain had reduced the fire danger, but at least another 40mm was still needed before the total fire ban could be lifted.

"One or two" small fires - rubbish and slash burns - had been reported, in breach of the total fire ban.

By contrast, farmers clearly understood the fire ban remained in place.

"If we get the rain we need, we may be able to lift it towards the end of the month," he said.

The council from March 20 under the Forest and Rural Fires Act banned all open air fires.

All permits previously issued for burning in this area were cancelled.

Gas fuelled barbecues and gas cookers which contain no charcoal or solid fuels are the only exemptions.


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