Fire and Emergency New Zealand has today announced that the Hauraki Gulf Islands enter a prohibited fire season from 1 December, until further notice.
A prohibited fire season means a total ban on outdoor fires, and all previously granted fire permits are no longer valid.
Declaring the prohibited fire season, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Region Manager Ron Devlin says El Niño-like weather patterns are expected throughout December.
"More frequent warm weather and windy conditions means there is a greater chance of a fire starting and spreading," he says.
"Adding to this, a relatively damp and wet winter has led to exponential growth of scrub and grass, which has the potential over the coming months to dry out quickly, increasing the risk of a fire spreading rapidly."
Ron Devlin says firefighting efforts on the islands can be difficult because they are geographically isolated from the rest of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
"Some islands and communities are only accessible by watercraft. By prohibiting people from lighting fires, we lessen the risk of fire."
The prohibition encompasses all islands of the Hauraki Gulf Islands, including Kawau Island in the Waitematā District.
People should visit www.checkitsalright.nz before lighting any type of fire anywhere over summer, to check they are allowed to in their current fire season.