• Fire restrictions imposed for parts of Hawke's Bay

Fire restrictions imposed for parts of Hawke's Bay

An extended open fire season has come to an end for parts of Hawke's Bay as increasingly dry conditions prevail.

Central Hawke's Bay and Hastings Rural Districts moved into a restricted fire season at 8am this morning. 

But with parts of the region still looking somewhat green, local firefighters are asking people to understand the risks involved with lighting fires during this time. 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Hawke's Bay District Manager Ken Cooper says fire permits are now required for people in Hawke's Bay to light an open-air fire.  

"Over the past four weeks we have seen several fires escape and get out of control due to the increasing fire danger due to the heat and it getting dryer," he says.

"If you're wanting to light an outdoor fire, make sure you apply for a fire permit and follow the conditions of your permit. You can apply for one at www.checkitsalright.nz."

FENZ Hawke's Bay Community Risk Manager Nigel Hall says it is the latest they have moved to a restricted fire season in a "long while". 

"Usually it's a lot earlier but we've had quite a lot of wet weather come through so we've managed to hold it off a lot longer. Usually, it's well before Christmas when we go into restricted."

He says the decision to move between the fire seasons, from open, restricted and prohibited, is a "complex" process that involves looking at a number of indices including temperature and humidity. 

"There's quite a science behind it all and we've now reached a level with those indicators that says we need to go to restricted in certain areas."

While people can still burn, he says it is important for them to use FENZ resources beforehand.

"We can give them loads of advice on what to burn and what to burn and what days are going to be better because we've got good forecasting that enables us to give accurate planning for people that want to still burn."

Cooper says it is important for everyone to do their part to keep safe and prevent wildfires in Hawke's Bay.

"There are some activities people can do while in a restricted season so the best way to check and stay safe is to visit www.checkitsalright.nz. If you put in your planned fire-related activity, you'll find tips on whether you can do it and how to do your activity safely."