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Fire ban for Mackenzie and Ashburton high country

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Fire ban for Mackenzie and Ashburton high country

Extreme fire danger has triggered the Department of Conservation to place a total fire ban over conservation lands (and within one kilometre of those lands) in Mackenzie and Ashburton high country today.

This means that even those who have permits to burn will have to put these on hold until conditions improve.

“Currently, the worst affected area in Canterbury is the high country between Lindis Pass and the Rakaia River,” says Tony Teeling, senior fire officer for the Department of Conservation.

“The ban is being assessed daily and may be extended to other areas of Canterbury if conditions don’t improve,” he said.

“Significant rain will be required before the fire threat eases; however, this doesn’t look likely with the current forecast predicting severe nor’west gales.”

Under the Forest and Rural Fires Act, DOC is the Rural Fire Authority responsible for preventing and controlling fire on public conservation land, all unoccupied crown land and within one kilometre of these lands.

“People should be mindful that during hot, dry conditions it only takes a spark to start a fire that could cause devastating and permanent damage to our natural areas,” Tony says.

“We’re asking everyone to do their bit to prevent fires and to take particular care using gas cookers, operating machinery or off-road driving in these areas. If you see a fire, dial 111 immediately.”

ENDS

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