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Pigeon Valley Fire Update 25 - Residents Access to Cordons - 9 February 2019 2300 hours

Thanks to the residents of Redwood Valley for their co-operation during the access programme today (9 February). Working with FENZ we are continuously reassessing the other affected areas aiming for access as soon as possible

Area status

Eves Valley

Active hotspots continue to hamper efforts for re-entry.

Teapot Valley

We will review this area again as a matter of priority in the morning.

Pigeon Valley

Remains a very active fire area.

Key points about access

  • The priority for this operation remains protection of life and public safety.
  • The responsibility of the cordons is with NZ Police, assisted by Defence personnel.
  • The decision to relax or tighten cordons is a multi-agency one.

Ideally groups of residents will be allowed into an area at the same time.

Criteria for entry include:

  • Removal / care of domestic pets
  • Care for livestock
  • To pick up essential items to enable a longer evacuation
  • One -off cordon access may be possible when urgent

For a cordon to open, several conditions must be met:

  • It must be safe to enter and entry will not inhibit any fire fighting operation: including overhead air operations, fire break construction including heavy machinery, and the presence of ground crew.
  • There must be available personnel to monitor current fire activity including re-ignition potential, the presence of hot spots or fire forecasting
  • Fire and Emergency must be confident they can provide operational response if an emergency occurs, while not compromising the main firefighting effort

Managed escort on State Highway 6

The New Zealand Defence Force are continuing to run escorted convoys through the portion of SH6 that runs through Wakefield township from 8am to 6pm Sunday. This will allow access through Wakefield for residents who would otherwise not be able to get past cordons on Eighty Eight Valley Rd, Totara Rd, Church Valley Rd and Bridge Valley Rd.

People with stock to move on the south side of the SH6 cordon should join a cordon to transport animals to the Richmond Showgrounds.

We ask that the community please be patient as we manage this.

Wakefield Evacuations

Residents in the Wai-iti area are being asked to prepare to evacuate. This is a precautionary measure to allow residents time to plan for an orderly departure, should it become necessary because of the progress of the fire.

Anyone preparing to evacuate should: 

  • Find any house pets (cats and dogs), bring them inside for the night
  • Leave cellphones on and charged overnight so you can receive alerts
  • If you see spot fires – dial 111 immediately
  • Prepare essential items such as food, clothing and medication to take should you need to evacuate
  • Ensure their vehicle has enough fuel for the return trip.

Reminder: All those who have evacuated are asked to register at Saxton Field Stadium, Stoke or ring 03 543 8400.

Previously evacuated residents

If you have returned to your property after being evacuated earlier, Civil Defence request that you continue to be ready to evacuate if necessary. This applies to residents in all areas, particularly Mailing Road and Green Acres Road.

Animal Welfare

The Ministry for Primary Industries has been working with the SPCA, Massey University Response Team to look after animals from the affected areas. The welfare of animals in these areas is their top priority.

  • MPI have had teams since the fire began conducting animal relocations or evacuations.
  • There is a team caring for evacuated animals at the Richmond Showgrounds animal welfare centre where there is housing, food, water and blankets.  
  • MPI teams are also going beyond the cordon, when it is safe enough to do so, to check-on animals and make sure they have enough water and are not suffering.  
  • If you are worried about your animals in the fire affected area you can contact MPI on 0800 008 333 (option 4).

Some residents have expressed concerns about the effects of smoke inhalation on their pets and livestock. MPI has advised that current smoke levels are not considered unsafe, however if you have a pet or livestock in distress, please contact your usual veterinarian.

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