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Prohibited fire season stretches on

Continuing hot and dry conditions mean that Wairarapa’s prohibited fire season will stay in place until further notice.

During the peak of the season, there had sometimes been several vegetation fires a day, but Fire and Emergency [Fenz] Wairarapa assistant commander Craig Cottrill said the number of callouts “certainly has slowed down”.

He noted that conditions are slowly changing with relative humidity overnight, but indices that help determine fire risk are still high, especially in Wairarapa’s coastal areas.

The reduced number of fires in recent weeks shows “that message we’ve been putting out there is having an impact”, Cottrill said.

He believes people have “obviously become aware of the higher fire danger and have been modifying their behaviour”.

One of the key messages Fenz had been iterating is to do any activities that may cause a spark – such as mowing grass – in the morning when conditions will be cooler and slightly damp.

Fenz community risk manager Phil Soal said the organisation is reviewing the fire season and fire risk levels on a weekly basis and that the region will move to a restricted fire season “as soon as we can”.

Indices are still at the “threshold where we can’t drop it to a restricted season at present”, Soal said.

Although some other regions are set to change their fire season levels, Soal said this does “not at all” indicate an imminent change for Wairarapa’s level, and Fenz will continue reviewing it on a weekly basis.

For now, Wairarapa remains in a prohibited fire season.

A prohibited fire season means no open-air fires are allowed, and all existing permits have been revoked.

For further info, and tips on how to stay ‘fire safe’, go to www.checkitsalright.nz

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