'Obey the restrictions': Easter fire bans in place across Otago due to 'extreme risk'

Open-air fires will be prohibited in central Otago.
Open-air fires will be prohibited in central Otago. Photo credit: Getty

Fire bans have been put in place across the Otago region over Easter due to high-risk conditions.

Open-air fires will be prohibited in central Otago from 6am Sunday until the same time on Tuesday, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) says.

The Central Otago area includes Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell, Wanaka, Lake Hawea, Naseby, Ranfurly, Kurow, Otematata, Omarama and Middlemarch.

The wider Otago region - which comprises coastal Dunedin, Catlins, Waitaki, and Lakes - remains under restricted fire conditions, but all fire permits will be suspended from 12pm Thursday until 12pm Tuesday.

"While these constraints are in place for the Otago central zone this means no lighting any outdoor fires, no roadside mowing, no cultivation, no fireworks or pyrotechnic displays, and no explosives to be set off in the Otago central zone," FENZ principal rural fire officer Bobby Lamont said in a statement.

MetService says Central Otago can expect strong gusty northwest gales on Sunday, and westerly winds on Monday. 

"Severe winds are forecast for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday which will increase the fire danger further and the dry fuels and soil in the region would make containing a fire extremely difficult if one were to occur.

"We ask people to take the high fire danger in Otago seriously over the holiday weekend and to please obey the restrictions while they are in place."

Anyone requiring fire safety information is urged to visit the Check It's Alright NZ website.