Warm, windy weather across the Far North has prompted a fire safety warning from the Northern Rural Fire Authority.
Principal rural fire officer Myles Taylor says the district is experiencing longer periods without significant rain and this weather pattern is likely to continue for the rest of the month.
“People may think there is no fire risk because temperatures haven’t got up to summer levels, but a couple of windy days can dry things out quite quickly.”
Regular rainfall during winter and early spring has also meant there is no shortage of combustible scrub, even in areas where there were fires last summer.
“Northland grows a lot of fuel. Even green vegetation will burn in the right conditions.”
Mr Taylor warns people planning hangi, backyard fires and farm burn-offs not to be complacent about the fire risk, particularly on windy days when fires can burn out of control quickly.
“We will recover fire suppression costs from those who allow fires to escape.”
He advises people who live near tea tree, gorse, grassland or pine forest to keep flammable vegetation around their homes to a minimum.
“Now is a good time to think about what you can do to keep your family safe. Ideally, you should have a 20-metre defendable space if your home is in a high-fuel area.”
The authority is monitoring weather and fuel conditions and may declare a prohibited fire season on the Aupouri and Karikari Peninsulas where outdoor fires are currently allowed with a permit.
“The fire risk in these areas is so high there are year-round restrictions on lighting fires.”