Winds will raise fire risk, firefighters warn

Increased fire danger is forecast today as gale force winds are predicted to strike the South.

Last week, strong winds fanned many fires across Otago, keeping firefighters busy.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is asking people who have burnt in the past two months to check old burn sites and ensure the fire is out.

It was recommended people turn the area over, ensure there is no heat left and apply water until the area is cold to touch, Otago Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer Jason Sarich said.

"A small amount of heat in an old fire site could reignite and winds transport embers into surrounding vegetation."

Although Otago had had some rain and frosts, warm days and wind had dried tussock, grasses and other light material, making it very easy to ignite, he said.

"People need to be extra careful and think about what they are doing."

Fire managers were asking people to be responsible and refrain from lighting fires until conditions eased.

Fenz asked people to check the forecast before burning and to ensure no strong winds were predicted for the 48 hours after burning, Mr Sarich said.

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