Otago Daily Times

Fenz call: no fires


- STAFF REPORTER Weather · Fires · Disasters · Otago · New Zealand

PEO­PLE are be­ing urged not to light fires as a blus­tery week­end is forecast across Otago.

A sea­sonal front was ex­pected to af­fect Cen­tral Otago un­til to­day, bringing strong north­west­er­lies.

Strong winds were also forecast for Coastal Otago to­day.

Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand deputy prin­ci­pal ru­ral fire of­fi­cer Ja­son Sarich said fire dan­ger around Cen­tral Otago was likely to go up to very high.

‘‘We rec­om­mend peo­ple hold off light­ing fires un­less there is lit­tle or no wind forecast.

‘‘A fire dan­ger of that level means it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to sup­press any fires that start, when the weather event is blow­ing through the area.’’

Cen­tral Otago was in a re­stricted fire sea­son, he said, meaning a per­mit was re­quired to light an open­air fire.

But ev­ery­one needed to think about whether they should be car­ry­ing out po­ten­tial spark­gen­er­at­ing ac­tiv­i­ties this week­end.

With the evenings now get­ting longer and warmer, peo­ple around Otago are likely to be out do­ing leisure ac­tiv­i­ties like bar­be­cues and home ac­tiv­i­ties like lawn mowing, he said.

‘‘It only takes a spark to start a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous fire, so we want ev­ery­one to be ex­tra care­ful.

‘‘Even ex­haust fumes on dry grass has the po­ten­tial to start a fire.’’

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