Dry Canterbury vegetation sparks fire concerns

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) says strong vegetation growth in Canterbury could soon pose a fire risk.

It comes on the back of a Metservice forecast that suggests January will be very hot and dry for much of the country.

Canterbury authorities are bracing themselves for a potentially busy fire season.

"In another month's time if it keeps drying all of this will be brown and you'll have some very significant fire potential," FENZ Manager Darrin Woods says.

He says a mild winter followed by a wet spring has seen vegetation growth across the east coast take off at levels not seen in 30 years. 

And it's places like Port Hills that worry fire officers as the wet start to summer has seen the vegetation explode. 

Mr Woods says with forecasters predicting the weather in the South Island to be very hot and dry by mid-January, FENZ is imploring property owners to mow long grass and vegetation. 

"Now is the time to act while it's still got a bit of green in it. It's important that people do what they can to reduce the fuel load around their properties, particularly around their structures and their fence lines."

It's these actions that could save properties as the country heads in to the driest time of the year. 

Further south, gusty northwest winds and arcing power lines are being blamed for a scrub fire that broke out near Lumsden, Southland. 

Saturday has proved to be busy for Southland fire crews. 

"It's very hot and dry now things are drying out," Lumsden Station Officer Owen Patterson says. 

"We've had a lot of high winds here now [and we've] got to be very careful [as] things are getting very dry." 

The fire tore through a forestry block and was brought under control by crews from around the district.