11 Feb 2019

Fire conditions in Canterbury remain extreme with firefighters battling multiple blazes across the region over the past week.

While much of the attention has been focused on the fires in the Nelson/Tasman area, the number of local call-outs continues to climb.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) reports that the past six weeks have been much drier than normal throughout the area, with a soaring fire risk and the potential for fires to rapidly spread across the brittle vegetation in greater Christchurch and beyond.

The fire risk remains high across Canterbury.

The fire risk remains high across Canterbury.

Warm, dry conditions are forecast for Monday through to Friday, followed by a cooler weekend.

Temperatures are expected to reach 30 degrees Celsius, with stronger north to north-west winds for much of the week before the cooler southerly winds arrive at the weekend.

Extreme caution is urged with any authorised fires and other activities that are likely to generate sparks.

Several recent fires have been caused by machinery or agricultural activities.

FENZ is urging farmers and contractors to take precautions and ensure that their equipment is well maintained to minimise the potential for fires during the harvest period.

It points out that firefighting resources are coming under increasing pressure amid more call-outs.

FENZ reminds people to call 111 without delay as soon as they see a fire or smoke.

Any time lost in an initial response can make all the difference in terms of firefighters’ ability to prevent large fires from developing and causing significant damage.

Fire restrictions remain in force across the greater Christchurch region and throughout Canterbury.

Anyone planning to light a fire outside in the Christchurch City area, including Banks Peninsula, or in the surrounding districts requires a permit from FENZ.

People can apply for fire permits online at checkitsalright.nz(external link) or call FENZ on 0800 658 628.

The threat of drought remains for parts of coastal Canterbury, with ground conditions forecast to further dry out.

People can find tips for keeping their property safe on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand website(external link).

The Canterbury Air Regional Plan also sets limits on where and when fires can be lit.

You can find more information on the Environment Canterbury(external link) website.