Pigeon Valley Fire update 59 - 10:30 hours 18/02/2019

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Pigeon Valley Fire update 59 - 10:30 hours 18/02/2019

Residents access

Forecast high winds have made it too dangerous to allow restricted access for residents in Eves, Redwood and Teapot Valleys today. This will be reviewed again tomorrow morning.

In other areas, residents who have been allowed home are reminded to be ready to evacuate if needed. They should also be aware that while the fire fighting operations continue, Fire and Emergency New Zealand crews and machinery may need to access private property from time to time.

Fire update

Strong winds meant there were some challenging conditions for firefighters last night. Crews have been working on extinguishing embers which have been transferred by wind within the containment lines.
 
Fire and Emergency New Zealand is continuing to monitor weather and fire behaviour. Winds are predicted to shift to northeasterly gusts later this afternoon. This will mean lower humidity and higher temperatures, heightening fire danger.
 
Key tasks for our crews today continue to be:
-        searching for and extinguishing hot spots
-        strengthening containment lines along the perimeter
-        assessing dangerous trees
 
The fire area is still estimated to be around 2343ha with a fire perimeter of 35.4km.
 
Fire crews are also attending a fire at a cool store in Motueka this morning. This appears to now be under control.
 
Redwood Valley Reservoir

Today's weather has also meant a pause in repair works for the water reservoir in the area.

The Bullseye Reservoir in the valley, which services around 35 properties, has been steadily losing water since early Saturday morning. Water pipes were likely damaged by bulldozers during the creation of a firebreak.

Residents supplied by the reservoir are among those previously evacuated from the area.

Crews were hoping to continue repair efforts this afternoon with the support of firefighters but conditions may prevent access today.

Forestry operations

Some forestry operations are happening today. This has been allowed under the Civil Defence exemptions and is subject to having strict fire control measures in place.  

Cyclone Oma

We are watching the movements of Cyclone Oma very closely. There is currently a high degree of uncertainty about the cyclone's tracks so we are developing contingency plans for all eventualities.