11 Dec 2017

Scrub fire in Otago as big dry continues

7:56 pm on 11 December 2017

Dozens of fire fighters have contained a 200ha scrub fire in central Otago, as dry weather continues around the country.

Emergency services are at the scene of the intersection of State Highway 8 and Springvale Road in Clyde.

The fire broke out shortly before 5pm and the shift manager for south fire services Andrew Norris said the blaze charred 200 hectares.

Mr Norris said eight fire crews and two helicopters were involved in fighting the fire using water from the Clutha River.

No houses or personal property were in danger, he said, but the steep terrain made it tough going.

Mr Norris said the area was hot and dry with a 20km northeast wind.

He said it could take several hours for the fire crews to dampen down hotspots.

Police are still asking motorists to avoid the area if possible.

Regions feeling the pinch of dry spell - MetService

MetService said many parts of the country were feeling the impact of the dry spell with water restrictions already in place in some regions.

This morning Christchurch City Council decided not to impose water restrictions - for now.

But MetService said restrictions were already in place in Wellington, Napier and Southland.

Meteorologist Lisa Murray said it was unusual to have such high temperatures throughout spring.

She said any moisture that was in the soil has evaporated very quickly and at least 20mm to 30mm of rain was needed to replace it.

Meanwhile the Tasman District Council said rationing for its users on the Waimea Plains comes into force today.

Fire permits needed in Canterbury

Fire and Emergency said as of this Saturday, parts of Canterbury would need a permit for open air fires.

Fire restrictions will affect Christchurch as well as the Selwyn, Hurunui and Waimakariri Districts.

Area Commander Dave Stackhouse said open air fires can spread to vegetation and quickly get out of control.

He said it was vital people in those areas applied for a permit before they light up outdoors.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs