National | Bushfires

Fire ban as soaring winds, low rainfall hit Te Tai Tokerau

Photo / NZME

Open air fires even if permitted have been banned in Tai Tokerau due to unseasonably low rain in the past few weeks and high winds.

Wipari Henwood, Northland District Manager for FENZ says forecasts for dry weather and high winds forced the authority to act.

“Weather forecasts see little to no rain for the next two weeks and a continuation of drying winds across all of the District," he says.

Northland currently has five active wildfires that whilst contained are still being tackled by FENZ and Henwood says there’s a ‘history of significant fires at this time of the year’.

A surge in Omicron cases in the region are somewhat limiting FENZ capacity in the region and Henwood says part of the ban is about ensuring they can respond to all call-outs.

“We want to make sure we have full capability to respond to emergencies across Northland," he says.

"By mitigating and reducing the risk of wildfire spread across our communities with a prohibited fire season, we can continue to do that.”

Wipari reminded those in the north ‘One spark is all it takes to start a devastating wildfire.’

"Please hold off lighting your fires until the weather conditions have changed and the risk of wildfires has minimised," he says.