Regional Fire Danger Now High

The fire danger classification for most of the Wellington region reached high yesterday with some areas classified extreme.

The temperature at Tawa reached 30.3 ÂșC mid-afternoon, warmer than Wellington where pleasant breezes off the harbour kept the temperature at a more comfortable level.

Nevertheless, continued hot days and the absence of rain have pushed the danger of fire to the high category, with some areas classified as extreme. Only 54 mm of rain has fallen in Tawa so far this month, with 50 mm of that recorded on the 7th and 8th. Since then 3 mm of rain was recorded on the 9th and another 1 mm on the 21st. This has allowed the ground to dry out considerably, and some trees and shrubs are beginning to show signs of stress.

Some experts suggest that the dry conditions could continue until mid-to-late February, by which time gardeners will be getting concerned.

Yesterday’s fire danger map is very similar to the map produced for January 2004, when the Wellington region was classified as high or very high fire risk. The following month, the region was classified as very high or extreme, and sprinkler bans were imposed to protect water supplies.

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