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Pigeon Valley Fire Update 70: Crews close in on fire perimeter milestone

Firefighters working to control the Pigeon Valley fire expect to have created a 30 metre ‘black-out’ zone around the fire area by the end of the day (Sunday 24 February).


Fire and Emergency Incident Controller Rory Renwick said that as of this morning, there was a “black out” 30 metre line around 33.2km of the fire perimeter, and a 10m line around the remaining 2.2km.


Black out refers to a cold area where no material is currently burning.


“We’ve achieved that blacked out area to 30m around 93 per cent of the perimeter and will be working to extend the 10m line out to 30m over the rest today.”


Fire control line Fenz 24022019

The blue line shows the area of the perimeter that has been blacked out with the remaining area in green to be addressed today.


Fenz fire crew perimeter photo 24022019

A crew from the Wellington Chatham Islands Rural Fire Brigade working on the fire perimeter. Photo: FENZ


Overnight, crews using drones identified and put out a hot spot that had flared up, creating an active fire.


Light rain had fallen this morning, with 8mm recorded at the fire site since 5am. No further significant falls were expected today. While the rain would help reduce the fire risk in lighter fuels such as dry grass, it wasn’t enough to make a significant difference to hot spots, Mr Renwick said.


He added that people should still be very careful as the fire risk across the region was still high and once the dampness of the rain lifted, light fuels can dry out in less than a day, and fires could start very easily.


“As a guide, think of clothes on a washing line. The vegetation is much the same so if your clothes dry, the vegetation will too.”


Civil Defence Group Controller Roger Ball welcomed the progress, however reiterated that there was still work to be done.


The State of Local Emergency remains in place until Wednesday.


Controlled access through the cordon remained in place for residents only in Teapot, Eves and Redwood valleys, and the prohibition on machinery use was still in place.

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