Fireworks canned over Chinese New Year due to hot, dry conditions

Fireworks are banned until further notice in Canterbury and Kaikōura. Photo: Getty Images
Fireworks are banned until further notice in Canterbury and Kaikōura. Photo: Getty Images
Chinese New Year celebrations will go ahead without fireworks and sky lanterns in Canterbury due to the fire risk.

Fire and Emergency Canterbury district commander Dave Stackhouse said all fireworks are banned until further notice due to the hot, dry conditions.

He said firefighters had a busy start to the year, with several significant fires across the Canterbury region.

Those included a vegetation fire near Waipara, which required 60 firefighters and two helicopters to tackle the flames, and a large blaze in Kirwee which burnt through 80 hectares of forest and scrub.

"There is little to no relief in the forecast for the next two months and the predicted hot, dry, and windy conditions will continue to dry out vegetation even further," Stackhouse said.

"We are facing an ongoing increase in fire danger and any ignition or spark can quickly turn into a dangerous wildfire that can significantly impact life, property, and our communities."

Stackhouse said fireworks and sky lanterns were too risky for Lunar New Year on Saturday.

"I would like to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year, but please celebrate this safely, without fireworks or sky lanterns."

Stackhouse said people could attend organised public events like the New Year Festival event at Hagley Park.

Residents were also advised not to mow, weld or drive through long grass and to move firewood stacked against houses.

Fire and Emergency Canterbury assistant commander David Berry told Morning Report this week the region was "very hot", with more high temperatures predicted for the weekend.

"The last couple of years we've had it pretty easy, but at this stage, this year, it's pretty extreme."

He urged people to "be vigilant" about fire risk - for example, "don't park on long grass with hot exhaust".

Fireworks bans were in place in Ahipara township and surrounds, Karikari Peninsula, Ripiro Beach, Mackenzie Basin, Central Otago, Naseby, Upper Waitaki, Lake Ōhau, Otago Lakes and Glendhu Bluffs, Canterbury, Kaikōura, Wellington, Kāpiti Coast and Wairarapa.

Fire and Emergency said restrictions could be added in additional locations as the fire risk changed, and people could stay up to date with current restrictions by visiting the Checkitsalright website.