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Fire ban put in place for close to the entire North Island amid drought conditions

Nearly the entire North Island has been placed in either a prohibited or restricted fire season, effective from tomorrow morning. 

Source: 1 NEWS

Regions around the north and the east coast of the South Island are experiencing dry conditions ranging from near to extreme drought. 

Last month, Auckland received record low rainfall, just 7 per cent of their annual forecast amount in their driest season since 2013. While Marlborough had their driest January on record in the past 90 years according to NIWA. 

Northland, Auckland and Waikato do not usually experience such a prolonged period of extreme fire danger caused by drought according to Fire and Emergency New Zealand.  

Spokesperson Tim Mitchell says these conditions can allow for sparks to quickly spread into out of control fires.

"It only takes one spark to start a fire so don’t risk it. Some routine activities like driving vehicles through roadside vegetation or machinery work, can cause a fire in these extremely dry conditions," says FENZ spokesperson Tim Mitchell. 

Fire risks have prompted some businesses in Canterbury to close down temporarily amid concerns their machinery could start a blaze.

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Mr Mitchell says permitted fires or burn sites from the last two months should be checked to make sure they are fully extinguished as they have the potential to remain hot in these conditions. 

With the exception of the bottom of the North Island near Wellington, almost the entire island has a total fire ban in place.