A total fire ban is being put in place across the Christchurch City area, including Banks Peninsula, amid growing concern about the fire risk.
The ban prohibits any outdoor fires being lit in both rural and urban areas and comes into force at midnight tonight (12 February).
“The past six weeks have been much drier than normal and the risk of fire, particularly in the Port Hills area, is now extreme,” says Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) Metro Area Commander Dave Stackhouse.
“Our focus is on protecting life and property and with no significant rain forecast for the city, we have made the decision to move to a prohibited fire season.
“That means there is a total ban on the lighting of any fires in open air,” Mr Stackhouse says.
The public are still allowed to use gas-operated appliances, barbecues, grills, and wood-fire pizza ovens, provided they are used safely in a clear area and there is a water source available to use in an emergency.
FENZ Principal Rural Fire Office Bruce Janes says a restricted fire season remains in place in the Selwyn, Waimakariri and Hurunui districts.
Anyone in those areas wanting to light a fire light outside must first obtain a permit from FENZ via the Checkitsalright website(external link).
The Selwyn, Waimakariri and Hurunui districts may move to a prohibited fire season next week if the fire risk does not ease.
Anyone who sees smoke or fire should dial 111 immediately.