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Prohibited Fire Season For Canterbury District

The Canterbury District will move to a prohibited fire season from 11.59pm Wednesday 31 January, until further notice.

A prohibited fire season means no open-air fires are allowed and all fire permits are suspended.

The prohibited fire season applies to all areas in Canterbury north of the Rakaia River, from the high country to the coast including Christchurch city.

The public is urged to head to www.checkitsalright.nz to see what rules apply for their location.

District Commander Dave Stackhouse says there have been several significant fires in Canterbury over the past few weeks, and there is little to no relief in the forecast for the next two months.

"Hot, dry, and windy weather is expected to continue, causing vegetation to dry out. In these conditions, fires spread quickly and are difficult to control.

"Our strategy is to escalate the resources sent to vegetation fires on days when the fire danger is extreme. This requires large responses from crews which will put a heavy burden on our crews especially our volunteers, their families, and employers," he says.

He urges people to take extreme care when undertaking any activities that may cause sparks, like mowing, welding, or driving vehicles in long dry grass.

"People must have ways to extinguish any fire that may start from sparks and not undertake this work during the heat of the day, instead defer to early morning when the temperature is lower.

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"People also need to be prepared to evacuate their homes if they are impacted by a wildfire," says Dave Stackhouse.

"In four of the most recent fires across Canterbury, people were either evacuated or under prepare to evacuate orders."

People can take simple steps to make their properties easier to defend against fire.

This includes:

- Clearing flammable material from 10m around homes and buildings.

- Moving firewood stacked against houses

- Clearing gutters of dried leaves etc that will easily catch fire

- Clearing flammable material from under decks

- Trimming trees and bushes and removing the trimmings

- Keeping grass short (using a trimmer with a nylon line is safer in these conditions than a mower or trimmer with a metal blade that could create a spark)

Go to www.checkitsalright.nz for further tips on how to stay fire safe.

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