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Pigeon Valley Fire Update 26 - Residents' Access to Cordons - 10 February 2019 10am

Fire Update

FENZ had a good night and now have a control line around the fire perimeter. There were no major issues overnight. The fire is now covering around 2300ha and has a perimeter of approximately 25km.  There are 155 firefighters on the ground today, plus 23 helicopters and 3 fixed wing planes. There is some concern about predicted high winds this afternoon, which are expected to test the control lines.   There is a total fire ban in place for Nelson-Tasman. An emergency directive was issued this morning to prohibit activities that could increase the risk of fire breaking out in both Nelson and part of Tasman.  See the link below for details and map of the prohibited area, which covers both urban and rural areas. http://www.nelsontasmancivildefence.co.nz/news/emergency-directive-prohibits-some-activities-to-reduce-fire-risk/   Businesses adversely affected by this directive should contact the Ministry for Social Development for assistance on 04 916 3300.

Volunteer support

We thank everyone for their support and offers of help.  We encourage people who want to help to donate to the Mayoral Relief Fund – this is much easier to coordinate than goods. Tasman District Council, ASB Bank Ltd, Nelson Commercial Banking. Bank/branch account number: 12-3193-0002048-03 Include in the reference "relief fund" and your name and contact phone number. Thank you.    

Key points about access

  • The priority for this operation remains the 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 firefighting 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 is continuing to run escorted convoys through the portion of SH6 that runs through Wakefield township from 8am to 6pm today. 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 have been 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 and Sunrise Valley.

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.  People are encouraged to bring their animals there.
  • 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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