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Temporary Fireworks Ban In Upper Waitaki Over Summer

A temporary ban on letting off fireworks in the Upper Waitaki comes into effect today (Tuesday 20 December) as part of ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire over the summer.

Fire and Emergency District Manager Phil Marsh says that wildfire is a year-round hazard in the area and the risk increases over summer as the vegetation dries out, temperatures rise and winds are warmer. The influx of holiday visitors also creates further risk because most fires are caused by human activity.

"Memories of the devastating fire at Lake Ōhau in 2020 are still fresh in our minds, and the locals understand the risk very well," Phil Marsh says. "The countryside looks green at the moment but that can be deceptive. People coming to the area from other parts of the country may not be as familiar with the wildfire danger.

"It only takes one spark to start a wildfire. That’s why we are asking people to leave their fireworks at home if they’re visiting the Upper Waitaki this summer."

And while some other types of fire are still allowed in the area at present, Phil Marsh is asking people not to light up at all if there is an alternative, for example using a gas BBQ rather than setting a campfire. "Just because you can light a fire doesn’t mean you should," he cautions.

Wherever you are in the country, go to or call 0800 658 628 to see what restrictions are in place before striking a match.

A temporary fireworks ban is already in place for the Mackenzie Basin, which is covered by Fire and Emergency’s Mid South Canterbury District.

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