Pigeon Valley Fire Update 44: State of emergency extended
The State of Civil Defence Emergency has been extended for a further week. This will enable the emergency efforts to continue to be well resourced with support from all agencies and central government.
Today the focus remained on identifying and tackling hotspots within the fire area. Today has seen around 70 firefighters, 9 helicopters and 13 heavy machines (excavators and dozers) in action.
Please remember there is a total fire ban in place throughout the region.
Access for residents
There is a large team from Fire and Emergency, Police and Civil Defence working on the conditional re-entry for the residents of the evacuated Valleys.
This is a much more complex process, because these properties have all been affected by the fire – either directly or by their proximity. Our decision to allow residents conditional re-entry is based on risk and safety considerations, including the fire itself, the weather, and the ability of emergency services to evacuate people again quickly and safely.
We cannot currently confirm when the conditional re-entry process for the Valleys residents will begin but this afternoon our specialist teams will be starting the risk assessment checks for each property – and there are about 200 properties to look at individually, so this will take some time.
Ban on use of outdoor machinery
A reminder that using outdoor machinery is currently prohibited. This applies to all of Nelson and most of the Tasman region.
We have been receiving reports of people continuing to operate equipment that they shouldn’t or who are unclear of their responsibilities. We need everybody to observe these restrictions.
Prohibited activities include all those where metal meets stone like mowing, discing, harrowing, stump grinding and cultivation. Outdoor activities that can generate sparks or fire are also prohibited and include gas cutting, welding, angle grinding and all use of chainsaws and scrub or bar cutters.
Activities on bare earth, pavement, seal or hard inflammable surfaces are permitted.
Where there is pressurised fire control available or activities are not generating fire risk – like horticultural spraying or stock feeding – work can continue.
We are working on more detailed guidance on how these restrictions apply to individuals, property owners, and our farming community – this will offer people direction on what they can and can’t do. We will update you again in the next few days about this.
Where you can get help
Suburbs Football Club is still open to support those affected by the Pigeon Valley fires.
They have groceries and household supplies, including pre-prepared meals, kids lunches, nappies etc. for evacuated residents, families hosting evacuated residents, or recently returned residents.
The Richmond Civil Defence Centre is now at the Richmond New Life Church at 85 Wensley Road. The centre will be open from 8am until 7pm daily and will remain open as long as needed. It is the place to go to ask questions and find out about services available to people affected by the fire.