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Total Fire Ban For Central Otago

There is a total fire ban in Central Otago from 8 am this morning (Friday 18 December).

The prohibited zone includes Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell, Wanaka, Lake Hawea, Naseby, Ranfurly, Kurow, Otematata, Omarama and Middlemarch. The rest of Otago remains in a restricted season.

The area going in to a total fire ban has been in a restricted fire season since the beginning of October.

Any permits acquired during the restricted season will no longer be valid when the prohibition order comes into effect.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Mark Mawhinney says there have been a couple of grass fires recently that quickly spread and could have easily got out of control.

"This is a clear sign that any fires or spark generating activities are just too dangerous in the present conditions," says Mark Mawhinney.

"Low moisture levels paired with expected high temperatures and high winds means everyone from locals to holidaymakers need to be careful about what they are doing around Central Otago this summer.

"We are urging everyone to keep their fireworks at home, cancel any bonfire plans and think about how they plan on cooking when outside.

"The strong winds we regularly see in Central Otago can easily blow cookers over," Mr Mawhinney says.

With an expected increase in the numbers of holidaymakers in the area, Fire and Emergency recommends visitors create an escape plan for themselves as well.

"Any new visitors should understand the area they are staying in and know where the potential exit routes are."

Mr Mawhinney also has a simple message for anyone wanting to do some DIY or spark generating activities.

"If it is hot and windy, keep it in the shed."

For more information please head to checkitsalright.nz.

© Scoop Media

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