No outdoor fires in Coastal Waitaki

Lighting outdoor fires is not allowed from Monday until further notice. Photo: Getty Images
Lighting outdoor fires is not allowed from Monday until further notice. Photo: Getty Images
No outdoor fires in Coastal Waitaki will be allowed from the start of next week.

Fire and Emergency NZ (Fenz) says the area will move to a prohibited fire season from 8am on Monday until further notice.

District manager Phil Marsh said there was "a great deal" of very dry vegetation in the zone, and this was already a significant fire risk.

"Westerly winds are forecast for the remainder of summer and into autumn for Coastal Waitaki, which will further dry out the vegetation," he explained.

"That increases the likelihood of a fire starting and rapidly becoming difficult to control.

"Coastal Waitaki has several areas of higher fire risk - rural properties on the edge of towns where the potential for fires to start and spread to adjacent properties is very high, like the outskirts of Oamaru, Shag Point and Moeraki."

Mr Marsh said there were several forestry areas which would be a challenge for crews on the ground. 

"If there’s a fire, our crews will always respond. But we’d like to reduce the likelihood of that happening.

"We’re asking people not to carry out activities that pose a fire risk, such as mowing, welding, and driving through long grass.

"But if you must mow your lawn or undertake any farm activity that’s likely to generate sparks, do it first thing in the morning when it is still cool."

People could also take simple steps to make their properties easier to defend against fire.

This includes:

• Clearing flammable material from 10m around homes and buildings.

• Moving firewood stacked against houses

• Clearing gutters of dried leaves etc that will easily catch fire

• Clearing flammable material from under decks

• Trimming trees and bushes and removing the trimmings

• Keeping grass short (using a trimmer with a nylon line is safer in these conditions than a mower or trimmer with a metal blade that could create a spark)

Go to for further tips on how to stay fire safe.

Meanwhile, Fenz said all private use of fireworks on the following lands is now prohibited: Mackenzie Basin, Central Otago, Naseby, Upper Waitaki, Lake Ōhau, Otago Lakes and Glendhu Bluffs.

Sky lanterns and fireworks are currently prohibited in Canterbury.

- ODT Online