5 Jan 2015

Total fire bans declared in many parts of NZ

3:02 pm on 5 January 2015

Authorities in large parts of the country are declaring total fire bans as the hot, dry weather increases the fire danger.

In the South Island, firefighters were kept busy throughout the weekend dealing with a spate of fires fanned by strong winds.

Total fire bans are in place in Central Otago, and parts of Canterbury, and will soon be ordered in Gisborne and parts of the Far North.

From 8am on Saturday no fires will be allowed in freedom camping areas or on the beach in the Gisborne district. The ban also appllies to all plantation and conservation forests.

Otago's deputy-principal rural fire officer Jamie Cowan said after 25 fires in Otago in 10 days, people should learn some common sense.

"We've had fires started by mowers, power lines, camp fires, car fires, target shooting and even you know the pile of grass clippings that secretly gets thrown over the bank into a local reserve which eventually spontaneously combusts."

Mr Cowan said all sorts of things can start fires.

A fire in the South Canterbury town of Twizel yesterday was believed to have been caused by a spark from a welding machine.

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