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Hot spot declared, restrictions begin

Fire level warning signs in Masterton. PHOTO/EVIE MURRAY

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As of 8am yesterday, Wairarapa would be in a restricted fire season.

A restricted fire season meant a fire permit would be needed if someone wanted to light an outdoor fire in Wairarapa.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Phill Wishnowsky said the restrictions had been put in place to stop fires from spreading due to the recent, and dry and hot weather expected to come.

“The change in season has been prompted by dryness across the area,” Wishnowsky said.

“There is plenty of dry vegetation around, and if a fire started, it would spread very quickly.”

Wishnowsky urged residents, as well as visitors, to follow the rules and apply for a permit if they had plans to light a fire outdoors.

“It’s easy to apply for a fire permit,” he said.

“When you apply for a permit, we can also help you plan your fire and advise on the best day, time, and location for your fire to reduce the likelihood of it getting out of control.”

“If you have a permit, follow its conditions.”

The Tararua district was still in an open fire season, but Wishnowsky also urged people to take precautions and pay attention to the weather and conditions, and to be safe with fire.

At the weekend, there were more than seven outdoor fires requiring emergency help in Wairarapa due to hot weather.

MetService reported a high of 27.8 degrees Celsius in Masterton on Saturday.

The region, particularly coastal Wairarapa, was deemed a ‘hot spot’ by Niwa [National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research].

A hotspot is declared if soils are ‘severely drier than normal’ which occurred when Soil Moisture Deficit is less than -110mm and the Soil Moisture Anomaly is less than 20mm.

Coastal Wairarapa had a soil moisture anomaly at, -20-30mm, while inland Wairarapa had a -10-20mm soil moisture anomaly.

Expected rain in the coming week would likely strengthen soil substantially in the region.

  • Tips on keeping safe with fire can be found on www.checkitsalright.nz.

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