Fire and Emergency New Zealand has advised that the Selwyn district will go to a restricted fire season from midnight Tuesday 29 January.

From midnight tonight anyone wanting to light a fire outside in the Selwyn district will need to first obtain a permit from Fire and Emergency.

Gas or charcoal barbecues can still be used without a permit.

“We normally have to put fire restrictions in place at the start of the summer, but the unusually wet spring meant that at the start of this summer the fire risk was very low so there was no need for restrictions,’’ says Fire and Emergency Principal Rural Fire Officer Bruce Janes.

“However, the recent run of warm weather has dried out all the vegetation growth caused by the unusual weather patterns and we have a very large fuel load that could potentially cause a fire to spread very quickly.

“With the fire risk indices moving steadily upwards, it is time to introduce restrictions,’’ Mr Janes says.

People can apply for fire permits online at www.checkitsalright.nz or call Fire and Emergency on 0800 658 628.

“We can work with you to make sure your fire burns safely, or in some cases, we can advise you that it’s not safe to burn a fire where you plan to,’’ Mr Janes says.

“With the fire risk escalating we are also urging people to avoid activities such as welding, grinding and even mowing lawns during the hottest part of the day as those activities may inadvertently cause a fire.

“It is also sensible for people with homes near trees, scrub or dry grass to do a check of their property to ensure they have minimised the risk of a fire spreading and that they can provide clear and easy access to fire crews in the event of an emergency,’’ Mr Janes says.

People can find tips for keeping their property safe on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand website.

* The Canterbury Air Regional Plan also sets limits on where and when fires can be lit. You can find more information on Environment Canterbury's website.

Last modified: 29 Jan 2019 5:02pm