Fire danger warning prompts ban

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Dangerously dry conditions have triggered a fire ban in the Queenstown Lakes district from midnight tonight. 

Last month was Queenstown’s driest December since 1980, with only 9.2mm of rain. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council principal rural fire officer Gordon Bailey says the only fires permitted are electric or gas barbeques in properly-constructed containers and those in approved purpose-built permanent surrounds. 

“Extra care should be taken with cigarette butts and when operating machinery, as sparks can result in unwanted fires.” 

Anyone spotting a fire should phone 111 immediately, Bailey says. The ban is in place until further notice.