Restricted fire season across Otago

The entire Otago region is now in a restricted fire season, as firefighters respond to increasing numbers of out-of-control blazes.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has updated the fire season status for the region as of today, meaning a permit is required to light a fire outdoors.

A restricted fire season has been in place for Central Zone since the start of October.

Acting principal rural fire officer Mark Mawhinney said fire crews had been responding to an increased number of out-of-control fires in the region.

The long-term forecast for Otago was for continued warm weather this summer, he said.

"Although there is some rain predicted, it will not be enough to keep up with the summer drying that occurs.

"If you get a permit to light a fire this summer, be vigilant. Always check the weather conditions to ensure there are no strong winds forecast.''

He also urged people to ensure fire appliances could access fires if they got out of control, and to ensure there was a water supply in the area.

"When you’ve finished, check your fire is completely extinguished. Check it again days, weeks and months after burning. It’s a good idea to dig into your ash pit to check it’s no longer hot."

To avoid fires near homes, people should avoid storing firewood or other flammables up against houses, he said. 

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