Pigeon Valley Fire Update 52 19:00 hours 15/02/19

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Pigeon Valley Fire Update 52 19:00 hours 15/02/19

Residents of 14 more properties can return home from 8am Saturday

Residents of a further 14 properties can return to their homes from 8am tomorrow (Saturday 16 February).

Please note: Access is dependent on the fire situation in the morning. If access needs to be cancelled, residents will be notified of any cancellation by text message on Saturday morning or will be notified at the cordon.

Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence Group Controller Roger Ball advised that weather conditions today have not proved as challenging as forecasted.

“We are still in for a very hot weekend with the potential for significant wind gusts. Fire and Emergency New Zealand has a comprehensive plan in place to deploy resources to supress flare-ups immediately,” he said.

“Following a careful risk assessment and discussion involving emergency services, we have made the decision to allow the remaining residents in the Pigeon Valley Road Area (including Sharp Road) to return to their homes; however, we remind all returning residents that they must be ready to evacuate quickly if required.”

Forecast overnight strong south-westerly winds around dawn could affect planned temporary access arrangement for Eves, Teapot and Redwood valleys.

“Restricted access arrangements that are already in place for the Eves, Teapot and Redwood valley areas are still scheduled to go ahead as planned however we ask residents to be prepared for this to change if weather conditions worsen,” says Mr Ball.

Restricted access to Golden Hills, Eves and Teapot valleys is between 8am and 2pm daily and is between 10am and noon for Redwood Valley.

All residents who have returned to Wakefield and the valleys under conditional re-entry provisions must continue to follow these conditions over the weekend. Conditional re-entry access will be assessed again on Monday.

Mr Ball says that residents that are still out of their homes will have a slightly longer wait before they can return.

“If you were evacuated and still do not have access to your property – this includes those on restricted access – please make arrangements to remain out of your home until Wednesday at least, possibly longer.

“This is a reminder that Wakefield residents must also maintain a high level of preparedness and should continue to be prepared to evacuate at short notice if required.

“We are making every effort to get you back into your homes; however, your safety and ability to evacuate swiftly are our priority,” he says.

Be prepared to evacuate

The decision to allow residents home does not mean the fire is out, nor is it controlled. There is still an extreme fire risk for the whole region.

Be aware that if the evacuation order is given while you are away from home you may not be able to return to collect your possessions. For this reason you may want to keep some items in your vehicle.

Useful items to take include:

  • First aid kit and essential medicines
  • Essential items for infants or young children such as formula and food, nappies and a favourite toy
  • Any special needs such as hearing aids and spare batteries, glasses or mobility aids
  • Clothes for 3-5 days
  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pets and pet supplies
  • Torch and radio with spare batteries.

Include important documents in your getaway kit.

  • Identification – birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licences and passports
  • Financial documents - e.g. insurance policies and mortgage information
  • Precious family photos

Civil Defence Centre – Richmond New Life Church, 85 Wensley Road, Richmond

The Civil Defence Centre will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 16 February and Sunday 17 February.

Civil Defence and Red Cross staff will be available to provide advice and assistance to people affected by the Pigeon Valley fires.

Other agencies will return to the Civil Defence Centre from Monday 18 February.