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21/02/2019 1:15pm

The Waikato/Thames region of Fire and Emergency NZ have decided to go into a Prohibited Fire Season because of the high fire risk.

"The ongoing dry spell has dried out vegetation around the region," said Mr. Paul Shaw, Principal Rural fire officer for the Waikato district. "We declared a restricted season a few weeks ago but the continuing dry spell means any fire is likely to be hard to manage and difficult to control, as seen in the Nelson Tasman area hence the decision to put in place a total fire ban."

"FENZ resources are still being deployed to Tasman so we need to act carefully to not exhaust local crews."

"It is important to note that the fire ban applies to both urban and rural areas," said Kevin Cowper, Area Commander for Waikato. "Forecasted rain will hopefully reduce the risk but unless the rain is prolonged the risk will return quickly."

A ‘Prohibited’ Fire Season means no open fires are permitted

There are limited exceptions to the fire ban (known as ‘authorised fire types’)

  • Gas operated appliances
  • Charcoal BBQ or grills
  • Wood fired pizza ovens
  • Chiminea 
  • Cultural fire e.g. hangi or umu fires (less than 1 metre x 1 metre in size) 

Mr Shaw said that even with authorised fires the public must take extra care and have a garden hose or some form of fire control and ensure the ground around the fire is free of any vegetation.

The prohibited fire season will take effect in both Urban & Rural areas. Effective date - Friday 22nd February 2019.

Prohibited Fire season will take place in the following areas:

  • Hauraki
  • Matamata – Piako
  • Waikato
  • Waipa
  • Otorohanga
  • Waitomo
  • South Waikato

For any further information go to

Ian Wellings
Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer, Tokoroa
Waikato Rural, Region 2