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A fire ban will apply across the Queenstown Lakes District from midnight Friday 6 January 2012, Queenstown Lakes District Council principal rural fire officer Gordon Bailey said.
The Prohibited Fire Season, jointly declared by the Council and Department of Conservation, will apply to all areas of the district including all settlements and townships and all Department of Conservation land.
“Conditions are extremely dry and we’re asking people to be mindful of their activities during the term of the fire ban,” Mr Bailey said.
“Extra care should be taken with cigarette butts and when operating machinery as sparks can result in unwanted fires. Vegetation district wide is tinder dry and with conditions like these, once a fire starts it can spread very quickly.”
The only fires that would be permitted were electric or gas barbeques in properly constructed containers and fires in approved purpose-built permanent surrounds.
Mr Bailey said the penalties for lighting a fire without a permit or while a prohibited fire season was in place were severe.
“Fires are expensive to fight and reparation for the costs and damage incurred may be sought from those responsible,” he said. ”if you add to that the potential for loss of property and human life, it’s best for everyone if fires don’t get started in the first place.”
Mr Bailey said once applied, the fire ban would be in place until further notice and anyone who spotted a fire should phone 111 immediately.