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Increasing Fire Danger Sparks Change In Canterbury Fire Season

Sunday’s fires along the Darfield railway line provided a timely reminder to everyone in Canterbury that it just takes a spark to start a wildfire, particularly as the fire danger increases.

With the warm weather set to continue this week, the fire danger is only set to increase, leading Fire and Emergency Canterbury District Commander Dave Stackhouse to declare a restricted fire season from 8am on Wednesday, 10 January, until further notice.

A restricted fire season means anyone planning on lighting an open-air fire will need a permit. You can apply for a permit at

"You only have to see from the events of this week how small sparks can quickly turn into large fires which threaten homes and communities," Dave Stackhouse says.

"Although a restricted season would not have prevented these fires, it does give us greater protection from unwanted fires by ensuring any open-air fires are only completed with a permit."

The previous two years of increased rainfall has seen increased grass and vegetation growth across the District, Dave Stackhouse says.

"This is now drying out, and our crews are reporting greater effort being required to contain and extinguish even relatively small fires.

"Anyone planning on lighting fires this season must check the weather conditions. If it’s hot and windy, do not light a fire, even if you have a permit.

"In addition, make sure you undertake spark-generating activities, like mowing or grinding, during the cooler parts of the day (early morning or in the evening)."

Go to for tips on how to stay fire safe.

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