Hot weather prompts suspension of fire permits in parts of South Island

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All active fire permits in Canterbury and most of the upper South Island have been suspended.

A firefighter on scene at an incident. 6 July 2016.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

It comes as Fire and Emergency is calling for people to be extra vigilant of fire danger and any activity that may cause sparks.

Active fire permits are granted when an area is in a restricted season.

However, Fire and Emergency response co-ordinator Colin Russell said cancelling active fire permits reduced the potential for fires to get out of control, especially with high temperatures and strong winds forecast.

“Please, avoid any spark generating activities, like grinding and cutting metals outdoors, or using farm machinery. Even mowing the lawn could cause sparks to start an out of control fire. Also check previous burn sites for hot embers and if you see a fire call 111 immediately,” Russell said.

Crews were well prepared to respond to any incidents across Canterbury, he said.

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“We have crews on stand by and are ready to protect our communities, if a fire does occur.”

It comes as crews work to contain a large fire which started at Pines Beach yesterday.

The 31-hectare fire was roughly 60 percent contained but was under control, he said

“We have around 30 firefighters working on the fire, as well as heavy machinery. There are still spots at the fire where our people are managing active fires. We are likely to be there for at least a couple more days.”

Nearly all active fire permits in the Nelson Tasman district have been placed on a 48-hour suspension during the hot weather.

Permits are suspended in zones including Coastal Rural, Coastal Urban, Waimea Rural, Nelson Rural, Nelson Urban, Golden Bay East and all Golden Bay beaches.

There are exceptions for Nelson Lakes, Murchison and Golden Bay West.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Ian Reade said Fire and Emergency remained on high alert due to the weather forecast over the next few days.

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“It is also to conserve resources, should we be asked to assist with any large wildfire emergency occurring within the Te Ihu region,” Reade said.

All active permit holders have been sent notifications to advise them.

“I also ask people to be extra vigilant about fire danger, particularly over the next few days,” he said.

The suspension will be reassessed on Thursday if the conditions ease.

People can check their [www.checkitsalright.nz local fire danger and fire season status here].

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