It might be time to get the mower out.

Recent wet and warm weather has sparked an appeal from Fire and Emergency New Zealand to southern landowners asking them to mow their lawns and paddocks before they can dry out and become a fire risk later in the season.

Otago principal chief rural fire officer Graeme Still said "exceptional" vegetation growth across the region did not pose an immediate threat but if it was left alone it would become a prime fuel source later on.

Any long grass around people's homes, holiday homes or farm sheds should be cut now, Mr Still said.


"What we're saying is now is the time to get stuck into it while the weather is good, rather than leaving it to later when things are dried out."

Spraying was discouraged as it would dry the grass out, he said.

There was low risk of fire across all of Otago but people still needed to take the proper precautions when lighting fires.

"We've got some big winds forecast so anyone who has burnt in the past couple of days needs to go and check those fires are out. It only takes a nice warm wind to get things going."

There would still be days where the risk of fire was high, so people still needed to use common sense, he said.

A fire on the Taieri yesterday, where a pit fire spread to a nearby hedge, was an example of what could happen on warm windy days.

"Even though it's quite green, it doesn't take long for a the underneath of a hedge or something like that to dry out and it can become quite dangerous pretty quickly."

A crew from the Mosgiel Volunteer Fire Brigade was able to bring the fire in Puddle Alley under control, but a tanker from the Wakari Voluntary Rural Fire Force was needed to dampen the area.



• Mow regularly before grass growth slows.

• Do not spray grass, as this makes it a ready fuel source.

• As conditions become warmer, consider when you mow.

• Early morning, when there is a dew, is best for mowing.