9 days ago

Fire season changes for Lakes Zone and Central Zone (Otago)

Nicole Mathewson Reporter from Otago News

Issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand:

The Lakes Zone and Central Zone of the Otago Fire District will move to a prohibited fire season. The change will come into effect at 8am on Saturday, January 15.

The Lakes Zone includes the land surrounding Lake Wakatipu, the Nevis Valley, and the land west and north of Lakes Wānaka and Hawea.

The Central Zone includes the Upper Waitaki, Lower Mackenzie Basin, Upper Clutha, Manuherekia, Maniototo and part of the Strath Taieri.

Otago district manager Phil Marsh says the prohibited fire season means lighting a fire in open air is prohibited as there is a high fire risk. No permits will be issued and those previously issued will no longer be valid.

"A damper start to the summer has seen significant vegetation growth which is now rapidly drying out. Lakes and Central are forecast to reach extreme fire danger over the coming weekend. If you see smoke please call 111," he says.

Holiday makers may be less aware of the serious fire danger in Central Otago and Lakes Zone. Marsh encourages them to use the ‘can I light a fire?’ tool on www.checkitsalright.nz....

"Locals will also need to consider the risks and current conditions before undertaking spark or heat-generating activities like mowing - please use the ‘reduce your risk’ tools at www.checkitsalright.nz...," Marsh says.

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