A silver lining from the wild weather last week is the lifting of restricted fire seasons.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) Otago District manager Phil Marsh said the fire restriction for Central Otago and Upper Waitaki zones was lifted on Tuesday morning.
The restricted season was put in place on September 14, a month earlier than in recent years, when key indicators for a restricted fire season had already been met.
Cromwell’s daily fire severity rating was more than double the 17-year average for the time of year, well above where it was at the same time in 2015 — the start of the last strong El Nino event.
However, last week’s rain and forecast cold weather meant the zones would revert to an open season for the time being.
Fenz would be constantly reviewing data to ensure the correct season was in place for the conditions, Mr Marsh said.
People should continue to exercise caution with any fire activities, particularly controlled burns or burn piles.
‘‘Ensure you check the weather conditions before you burn and if you’re in any doubt, then hold off until more favourable conditions are present.
‘‘If you’ve already completed a burn, we urge you to continue to check it until it is fully out and cold, as the chance of re-ignition of deep embers by strong winds is high.’’