Fire and Emergency New Zealand is urging people to be extra cautious during their Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend.
“We want everyone to enjoy their Lunar New Year celebrations, but this year without fireworks or sky lanterns,” National Wildfire Manager Tim Mitchell says.
“This is because of the dry, windy, and hotter temperatures this summer, which are forecast to continue through this weekend in already dry regions,” he says.
Tim Mitchell says many parts of the motu are in prohibited or restricted fire seasons and fireworks are currently banned in Ahipara township and surrounds, Karikari Peninsula, Ripiro Beach, Mackenzie Basin, Central Otago, Naseby, Upper Waitaki, Lake Ōhau, Otago Lakes and Glendhu Bluffs, Canterbury, Kaikōura, Wellington District, Kāpiti and Wairarapa.
“We are expecting restrictions in more areas, so go to www.checkitsalright.nz to stay up to date.”
Fireworks bans mean you can’t light or set off any fireworks, including sparklers.
Tim Mitchell says sky lanterns also pose a significant fire risk to buildings and vegetation.
“We strongly recommend you do not light lanterns. This includes tethered lanterns, as there is a risk of them becoming untethered and causing a fire.
There is also now a ban on sky lanterns in Canterbury including Kaikōura, and Wellington, Wairarapa and Kāpiti.
Tim Mitchell reminds people that fire restrictions don’t just apply to rubbish fires, bonfires and controlled burnoffs.
“It is important to note a fire covers a broad range of activities involving a flame or heat such as using gas cookers, barbeques and fish smokers,” he says.
“Please check www.checkitsalright.nz for what rules apply before undertaking any activity involving a flame or heat source.
“It’s important that we all do our bit to keep our friends and family safe,” Tim Mitchell says.
Fire and Emergency wishes all those celebrating this occasion to have a Happy Lunar New Year.