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Fire authorities nervous as grass, scrub grows at fastest rate in decades

The fastest plant growth in decades has fire authorities on edge in parts of the country.

Rapidly growing grass and scrub in places such as Christchurch’s Port Hills could easily fuel a fire if triggered, according to Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

The plants are shooting up thanks to a mild winter, followed by heavy rain in spring and early summer.

But now, under a scorching January sun, it's beginning to bake.

Flames fanned into a large scrub fire near Springs Junction yesterday. 

Persistent heat in Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough could see total fire bans in place as soon as next week.

While conditions are different to those before the devastating Port Hills fires of 2017, those who lived through it know how easily one can start. 

"The grass is really tall. It’s grown immensely in the last four to six weeks, and well, with the fires we had, it's such a huge fire risk, so if anyone dropped a bit of glass it'd just take off," Port Hills resident Sally Vossler told 1 NEWS.

On-edge Christchurch residents have called on the city council to cut it back - the council has since responded to say the grass will be clipped by the end of the month.

And Fire and Emergency Integrated Risk Manager Darrin Wood has a message to homeowners" "Keep the lawns mowed, particularly any sort of tall grass or vegetation that’s close to structures or fence."

Looking forward, Mr Wood says it’s "going to become a matter of living with fire as opposed to trying to prevent it".

"It could become a more common feature of our environment".

It's a reminder for everyone to keep what they can under control.

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    They say rapidly growing grass and scrub in regions like Canterbury could fuel blazes. Source: 1 NEWS