RIGHT: A light plane owned and piloted by social media consultant @vaughndavis on Great Barrier yesterday as a bush fire approached the airfield.
Auckland Council has instituted a complete fire ban for the whole of the city, surrounding region and islands.
But a great New Zealand institution is safe. A council rep told NBR that home BBQs are excluded - and that even regional park BBQs are okay as long as they are at least 30cm off the ground. The only proviso is that the BBQ is not an open fire.
Extreme weather and fire risk has been cited for the open-ended ban.
RAW DATA: Auckland Council statement, Jan 25
Auckland Council has announced a complete fire ban for the region, including Great Barrier, Kawau, Waiheke and the other Hauraki Gulf Islands.
Principal Rural Fire Officer Bryan Cartelle says the ban is necessary because of the current situation and weather conditions.
"The forecast for a hot, dry long weekend with increased winds means a complete fire ban is the safest option. Both locals and visitors to the islands will need to do their part by taking extra precautions and ensuring the ban is followed by everyone," he says.
The ban means all fires in the open air, including rubbish fires, bonfires, backyard braziers, fireworks and cooking fires, are prohibited. The ban will remain in place until the fire danger is no longer classed as extreme.
Urban areas are also included in the fire ban, which has the support of the New Zealand Fire Service.
If you are unsure whether you are in a rural fire area, please call Auckland Council on 09 301 0101.
Anyone who sees a fire or smoke in the bush, parks or reserve land should call the fire service immediately on 111.