Fire and Emergency New Zealand have declared a restricted fire season for the Rangitikei District which will commence from 8am on January 24.

Principal rural fire officer Bradley Shanks said it was likely the restriction will be in place until the end of summer.

He said weather stations around the district that monitor the weather, grass and soil moisture content are proving the ground is drying out and restrictions need to be put in place.

And the number of phone calls about scrub fires are starting to come through more and more, Shanks said.


"We're getting a lot of reignition fires, fires that are a few weeks to a month old that are reigniting in the wind and especially in the sand country areas and also the occasional control burn that the wind has picked up and shifted."

Meanwhile, Whanganui rural fire officer Gavin Pryce said Whanganui was expected to follow with a restricted fire season to be implemented on January 27.

With no rain in the forecast for the Whanganui district for around seven to 10 days, this has indicated they need to be restricting fires, Pryce said.

"It's already quite dry out there, the coast, in particular, is much drier than inland Whanganui so we're going to impose fire restrictions across the entire Whanganui district and the Ruapehu district as well.

Gavin Pryce.
Gavin Pryce.

"It's good and telling us people are looking at the conditions and taking the precautions."

Pryce wanted to praise the public for the cautions they have been taking and for being vigilant.

"It's good to see, quite pleasing from our perspective."

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Pryce said restrictions mean any fire in the open requires a permit.

This can include lighting bonfires and camp fires.

When lighting a gas cooker, gas or charcoal barbecue, heater, hāngī, brazier or pizza oven, a permit is not required.

However, when lighting a fire for a hāngī and a brazier, the hāngī has to be less than two square metres and a brazier no larger than half a metre.

A fire cannot be ignited in a hāngī, brazier or a pizza oven within 3m of a building or hedge, shelter belt or other combustible material. A hose or another form of extinguishing the fire must be within 5m.

"If you don't have to light, don't," Shanks said.

Both Shanks and Pryce urge everyone to visit Fire and Emergency's website