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Pigeon Valley Fire Update 53: High winds cancel access to valleys

Restricted residential access to fire-affected valleys today (16 February) has been cancelled.

High winds pose too much of a risk to allow people into the area. Already this morning we have had gusts of up to 81 kmph on the fireground.

We have been watching weather and wind conditions closely overnight and, together with Fire and Emergency New Zealand, have made the call to suspend restricted access today. This also means that planned conditional re-entry for the remaining Pigeon Valley Road residents, (including Sharp Road) has been cancelled today.

The risk of significant flare-ups and our ability to evacuate people at short notice has been the primary consideration behind making this decision. Police and Defence Force staff will maintain cordons in the area and Fire and Emergency New Zealand staff will be monitoring the fireground closely and responding to flare-ups and hot spots.

Those who are already back in their homes are reminded to be vigilant, dial 111 immediately if they see any fire and must remain prepared to evacuate at short notice if required.

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