A sharp increase in fire risk has parts of Central Otago placed into a prohibited fire season with a total ban on open-air fires and all fire permits being suspended until further notice.

Fireworks are also banned in those areas until further notice.

Central, Naseby, Lakes and Glendhu Bluffs areas were among the affected areas, which had been in a restricted fire season with open air fires requiring a permit.

However, the forecast wind and lack of rain meant all existing permits were suspended until further notice.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Otago District Manager Phil Marsh said westerly winds and a lack of widespread rain has dried out much of the vegetation across the district.

‘‘In these conditions, with more wind forecast, a fire can get out of control very quickly.’’

‘‘We have already seen several unwanted fires across Otago in the last week and one was likely to have been caused by fireworks.

‘‘Wind can easily carry sparks and embers from fireworks large distances into dry vegetation,’’ Mr Marsh said.

Anyone wanting to light a fire or check if it was all right to do so could find out at www.checkitsalright.nz