Restricted fire season in place for Otago Lakes

Looking east towards Emerald Bay above the site of the 280ha Glendhu Bluffs fire.
Looking east towards Emerald Bay above the site of the 280ha Glendhu Bluffs fire.
The fire danger for parts of Otago is expected to rapidly increase this week due to forecast weather conditions.

The Lakes Zone has moved into a restricted fire season with a permit now required to light an open air fire.

That included the land surrounding Lake Wakatipu, the Nevis Valley, and the land west and north of lakes Wānaka and Hawea.

It follows a significant fire at Emerald Bay near Wānaka which broke out on Sunday.

Otago district manager Phil Marsh said the fire danger in scrub was extreme, despite a moderate fire danger in other parts of the region.

"Please go to to check the fire season in a specific place and to see the types of fires that are not considered 'open air'," he said.

"Permit-holders must follow the conditions of their permit.

"Even if your fire does not need a permit, any person who is lighting any fire will still need to take great care due to the overall fire risk. Make sure to check local conditions, prepare a safe spot and be ready to extinguish the fire if necessary."

Marsh wanted to remind the public that several areas in the Lakes Zone were subject to a total fire ban.

"The Queenstown Red Zone, Coronet Forest and several islands on Lakes Wakatipu, Wānaka and Hawea are in a year-round prohibited fire season," he said.

In Otago, the Central Zone remained in a restricted fire season while the Coastal and Clutha zones are in open fire seasons.

Otago District Mayor Phil Marsh said the fire danger has increased rapidly over the course of this week.

Yesterday a fire burned through 280 hectares of scrub near Wānaka.

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