Fires flare up in rural Canterbury amid dry conditions

Photo: RNZ/Tracy Neal
Photo: RNZ/Tracy Neal
Firefighters from Canterbury have been kept busy overnight by rural blazes starting up in high winds and dry weather.

Fire crews were called to more than 25 fires in South Canterbury, Mid-Canterbury and Otago.

Most have been contained and firefighters will be revisiting a few to dampen them down this morning.

A total fire ban was imposed last week in Canterbury but some old burnoffs have been smouldering for weeks and reignited last night in the high winds, Fire and Emergency spokeswoman Lyn Crosson said.

Fire conditions are expected to worsen over the weekend, with heatwave and windy conditions in parts of the country.

A forecast of extreme fire danger in the dry South Island conditions has led to a ban on all fires in most of Canterbury, Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes districts.

All activities that cause sparks are are also banned. These include welding, grinding, chainsaw use and mowing roadsides.

MetService meteorologist Tom Adams said the heat would peak on Sunday and should cool down by Tuesday in most areas.

Christchurch and Hastings are tipped to top the weekend temperature charts, with both expected to hit 35 deg C on Sunday.

Adams said the hottest temperatures this weekend will be in the middle of the day, and nights could be muggy and unpleasant for many.

Although it is going to be hot, no records are expected to be broken. The hottest day ever recorded in New Zealand was in 1973 when Rangiora recorded 42.4 deg C.






Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter