Clutha District declares restricted fire zone

18:46, Dec 12 2012

A restricted fire zone will come into force in the Clutha District on Monday.

Permits will be required for all fires except burning agricultural crop residue, barbecues in properly constructed containers and cooking fires at campsites with a concrete or stone surround.

No fires are allowed to be lit in gusty or windy conditions.

Fire permits for other uses require at least five days to be processed, the Clutha District Rural Fire Authority said.

The authority covers most of the Clutha District, but some areas are covered by the Southern Rural Fire Authority.

This is because some forestry companies which are part of the Southern authority have forests in Clutha and other areas.

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Clutha District Council planning and environment manager Murray Brass said the restriction in the district was precautionary.

"Things are not that dry . . . it has not been a great spring," he said.

"But we're always aware coming up to Christmas you can get a few days where the weather does turn hot, dry and you can get wind with that. Conditions can drop and the risk goes up very quickly."

Mr Brass said new year's bonfires needed a permit and people should apply for them as soon as possible to ensure they were processed before the office closes on December 21.

The Southern Rural Fire Authority declared a restricted fire zone across Southland and its other areas of responsibility on December 1.

All fires require a permit except incinerators, barbecues, offal holes and hedge and tree trimmings.

Queenstown-Lakes District operates a restricted fire zone year-round due to its dry climate.

The Southland Times