Fireworks and sky lanterns banned in Canterbury

Friday 9 February 2024, 7:34AM

By Fire and Emergency New Zealand



Fireworks and sky lanterns are banned across Canterbury and Kaikōura from 8am Friday 9 February until further notice.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has imposed the ban under Section 52 of the Fire and Emergency Act which allows Fire and Emergency to restrict activities that may start or cause the spread of fire.

Canterbury District Commander Dave Stackhouse says it has been a very busy start to the year with several significant fires across the Canterbury.

"There is little to no relief in the forecast for the next two months and the predicted hot, dry, and windy conditions will continue to dry out vegetation even further," Dave Stackhouse says.

"We are facing an ongoing increase in fire danger and any ignition or spark can quickly turn into a dangerous wildfire that can significantly impact life, property, and our communities."

Saturday 10 February is Lunar New Year and Dave Stackhouse says the potential use of fireworks and sky lanterns is too risky.

"I would like to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year, but please celebrate this safely, without fireworks or sky lanterns," he says.

"We urge the public to instead celebrate this occasion at properly organised public events like the New Year Festival event at Hagley Park.

"Pyrotechnics are not part of the ban as these are permitted activity with strict control measures and safety plans," he says.

The whole of Canterbury is in a prohibited fire season which means there is a total fire ban on all fires in the open air.

The Canterbury Fire District is the geographical area including Selwyn, Waimakariri, Hurunui, Kaikoura District Councils and Christchurch City Council areas.

Dave Stackhouse asks that people are cautious in the hot dry conditions and do not carry out activities that pose a fire risk, such as mowing, welding, and driving through long grass.

People can also take simple steps to make their properties easier to defend against fire.

This includes:

  • Clearing flammable material from 10m around homes and buildings.
  • Moving firewood stacked against houses
  • Clearing gutters of dried leaves etc that will easily catch fire
  • Clearing flammable material from under decks
  • Trimming trees and bushes and removing the trimmings
  • Keeping grass short (but mow during the early morning when its cooler and use a trimmer with a nylon line which is safer than a mower or trimmer with a metal blade that could create a spark)

Go to for further tips on how to stay fire safe.

Currently fireworks bans are in place in Ahipara township and surrounds, Karikari Peninsula, Ripiro Beach, Mackenzie Basin, Central Otago, Naseby, Upper Waitaki, Lake Ōhau, Otago Lakes and Glendhu Bluffs, Canterbury, Kaikōura, Wellington, Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Note restrictions may be added in additional locations as the fire risk changes, you can stay up to date with current restrictions by visiting