Fire ban back
Extreme fire danger means the Selwyn district will return to a complete fire ban from Friday.
Under the restrictions of the reinstated prohibited fire season, no outdoor fires can be lit in the district. Crop farmers will not be able to burn off crop stubble, with all fire permits previously issued by the council to be cancelled, effective from Friday.
Gas barbecues are allowed if they have a high pressure water source at hand, but charcoal barbecues are off limits.
Selwyn principal rural fire officer Wilson Brown said the fire risk was extreme, forcing the council to go back to the total fire ban that was lifted to a restricted fire ban on February 16.
"We moved into a restricted fire season following a brief spell of rain, but the district is once again very dry, so it's appropriate that a prohibited fire season be declared."
A prohibited fire season had been in effect right across Selwyn since January 26, when fires ravaged the district as an ongoing heat wave gripped Canterbury.
Mr Brown said the council recognised the restrictions on farmers not having the ability to burn crop residue would be frustrating, but their primary focus had to be reducing the fire risk, in order to protect lives and property.
He said the council would review the prohibited fire season status regularly and would lift restrictions as soon as it was considered safe.
Rolleston fire chief Nigel Lilley said he could not think of any callouts that came as a direct result of controlled fires during the restricted period.
He said people have been sticking to the regulations, and despite near- drought conditions, the brigade had not been inundated with callouts.