31 Jan 2022

Otago coastal and Clutha zones now in restricted fire season

12:06 pm on 31 January 2022

Otago's coastal and Clutha zones including Dunedin and Waitaki are now in a restricted fire season.

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Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Otago District Manager Phil Marsh said a permit was required to light a fire in open air in these areas.

"There is a lot of long vegetation in the area which could be fuel for a fire and it is quickly drying out. This means a fire could spread very easily and get out of control," he said in a statement.

"This summer's La Niña weather pattern has resulted in some unusually variable coastal conditions. While there is patchy rainfall forecast for some areas around Otago's Coastal and Clutha zones, it's not falling everywhere and some spots within the zones are very dry."

There were some activities that did not need a permit in a restricted fire season including cultural cooking and barbecues.

"Even if a fire type doesn't need a permit, any person who is lighting a fire will still need to take great care due to the overall fire danger.

"Prepare a safe spot away from nearby vegetation or properties, and be ready to extinguish the fire if necessary."

People could apply for a permit by going to the [www.checkitsalright.nz check it's alright website], he said.

He urged people to check the local weather conditions and not to light a fire if it was hot, windy or the fire danger was high, even if they had a permit.

The Lakes Zone and Central Zone of the Otago Fire District remained in a prohibited fire season.

No outdoor fires were allowed in these areas.

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