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Recent spate of fires caused by reignition sparks further warnings in Canterbury

A number of blazes have reignited in the wider Canterbury region over the past few weeks despite wintry conditions as crews begin an early fire season in the snow.

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A number of blazes in the wider Canterbury region have re-ignited over the past few weeks. Source: 1 NEWS

“Unfortunately it’s a bit of a false security, the fire still is still actually active and hot underneath the ground, it's just smouldering away,” says rural fire officer, Daniel Bowman.

A large fire in North Canterbury this week showed a similar picture to a fire in Twizel in weeks prior.

“Something like 3000 hectares were burnt. Quite unusual to have a fire of that size in August,” says Mackenzie District Mayor, Graham Smith.

Two large fires break out in North Canterbury amid strong winds

New Zealand’s fire season is now so long it’s encroaching on winter.

“We have seen more fires going on and they’re starting earlier, yeah it is a concern,” says Bowman.

The country has just experienced one of the hottest winters on record and with little rain, soils are dangerously dry, plus adding spring’s strong winds  to the mix can see situations escalate.

“All those fires you lit last week which were just fine are kicking up and escaping again,” says Canterbury principal rural fire officer, Bruce Janes.

The message from Fire and Emergency is for people not to be complacent and not to let their surroundings fool them.

Mackenzie District goes from battling frosts to forest fires

Though there may be snow on the surface, underneath the ground is dry and hot, providing the perfect opportunity for a fire to start and spread.

“If you're burning heavy fuel, look at the weather five days from now, so in case that wind catches you out when you think it's all done,” says Janes.