Dunedin, Clutha and Coastal Waitaki will move to a restricted fire season on Saturday 13 January at 8 am, until further notice.
A restricted fire season means people need a permit to light open-air fires.
Declaring the fire season change, Fire and Emergency New Zealand District Manager Phil Marsh says despite some wet days, the more settled dry weather is drying out vegetation and increasing the fire danger.
“Previous fire seasons have shown that significant fires can ignite and spread quickly during dry weather as is currently being experienced, ” Phil Marsh says.
“We’ve already had a number of significant fires in these conditions this season, including a vegetation fire in the Clutha that started in dry grass and spread, threatening a house and destroying a shed.
“We have high numbers of people still camping, and people looking to work on their properties which creates more risk, especially in partially rural areas close to towns where there is more vegetation and grass.
“We ask everyone, to take extra care as this dry weather continues.
People can take simple steps to make their properties easier to defend against fire.
– Clearing flammable material from 10m around homes and buildings.
– Moving firewood stacked against houses
– Clearing gutters of dried leaves etc that will easily catch fire
– Clearing flammable material from under decks
– Trimming trees and bushes and removing the trimmings
– Keeping grass short (using a trimmer with a nylon line is safer in these conditions than a mower or trimmer with a metal blade that could create a spark)
“Taking these steps now to protect your property from attack by fire will go a long way to helping our firefighters if a fire does break out,” Phil Marsh says.