Auckland Council has announced a complete fire ban for the region, including Great Barrier, Kawau, Waiheke and the other Hauraki Gulf islands.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Bryan Cartelle said the ban was necessary because of the heightened fire danger and predicted weather conditions.

A massive blaze has been burning on Great Barrier Island for several days and earlier today a large bush fire caused a landslip that closed a road between Papakura and Hunua Township, south of Auckland.

"The forecast for a hot, dry long weekend with increased winds means a complete fire ban is the safest option," Mr Cartelle said. "Both locals and visitors to the region will need to do their part by taking extra precautions and ensuring the ban is followed by everyone," he said.


This means all fires in the open air including rubbish fires, bonfires, backyard braziers, fireworks and cooking fires are banned.

The ban will remain in place until the fire danger is no longer classed as elevated.

Urban areas are also included in the fire ban, which has the support of the New Zealand Fire Service.

Earlier today, the Environmental Defence Society warned of a fire crisis heading into anniversary weekend and called for a ban on outdoor fires.

Chairman Gary Taylor said the forecast was for fine, dry, sunny and windy weather for at least the next 10 days and the Auckland Council needed to lift the risk from "restricted" to "prohibited".

"This needs urgent attention prior to the long weekend.

"BBQs and clean-up activities over the long weekend pose a special risk," Mr Taylor said in an email to council chief executive Doug McKay today.

Before today's ban was announced, a council spokesman said there was already a complete fire ban on the islands in the Hauraki Gulf and the "restricted" fire status in rural Auckland was effectively a ban because anyone wanting to light a fire needed to apply for a permit.


For further information please the rural fires page on our website or call Auckland Council on 09 3010101 to speak to one of the rural fire team.

- NZ Herald