As hot, dry weather conditions begin to make a significant impact on the region, local councils have issued fire and water restrictions.
Recent drought conditions and persistent moisture deficit in some parts of inland Canterbury has pushed the region's fire danger to extreme levels. Forecast weather conditions show no real relief in sight for several weeks. In preparation to meet the demands of current extraordinary conditions, the regional rural fire committee asked the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Headquarters to open the region's emergency operations centre (EOC) on Thursday, 7 January 2004, to maintain a "watching brief" until the danger passes. The centre is now staffed by rural fire managers who will oversee interagency response to any fire emergencies that may arise