Authorities are urging caution as an increased risk of fire in the Central Otago district is fanned by dry, windy conditions.
On Saturday, the Otago Lakes region, which covers Wanaka and Queenstown, joined both Central Otago and Upper Waitaki zones in a restricted fire season, requiring anyone wanting to light a fire in the open air to have a permit.
The move follows warnings the danger of forest fires was likely to reach very extreme in this week.
In spring authorities cautioned predicted El Nino weather patterns — which would bring dry and windy conditions for an extended period — would bring an increased fire risk across the south.
That risk seems to be coming to the fore now. Central Otago firefighters attended seven call outs at the weekend, including a large blaze above Clyde Dam which was sparked by fireworks on Friday, then reignited on Saturday.
Crews from throughout Central Otago, including Dunedin and Queenstown, and three helicopters, were called to the fire on steep hillside above Lake Dunstan.
Volunteer firefighters from Clyde, Alexandra, Tarras, Dunstan and Luggate, as well as career fighters and staff from Dunedin and Queenstown attended.
A crew remained at the scene overnight and some rain helped to dampen down hotspots.
A Fenz spokeswoman said the sight was monitored for 24 hours after the blaze was out to ensure it did not reignite.
Fenz incident controller Bobby Lamont said firefighters from local volunteer brigades and the helicopter pilots had done a tremendous job in challenging circumstances to limit the fire to 3ha.
‘‘The winds in the area have been horrific. Thankfully, the face where the fire is burning is slightly sheltered, and we slammed extra resources on to it to make sure it didn’t impact the transmission lines from the dam,’’ he said.
He urged people to think twice about letting off fireworks in windy conditions, and be aware it only took one spark to cause a wildfire.
Less than 48 hours later, firefighters attended a small vegetation fire next to State Highway 85, near Springvale.
Two fire appliances and two water tankers attended the 800sq m blaze, which caused road blocks to be put in place on the highway.
A police officer at the scene told The News the fire had been going over a week ago, and had had a good break but had flared up again.
That call out was one of four fire call outs across the region on Monday alone.