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Civil Defence Emergency status in Hastings has been lifted


TE KAUNIHERA O HERETAUNGA

Emergency status lifted; 3.30pm

The Civil Defence Emergency status in Hastings has been lifted.

Hastings District Council made the decision at 1.55pm today that the fire situation could be managed with local resources, which meant the emergency status was no longer required.

The state of emergency was put in place on Monday afternoon as five fires burned across the region, three eventually burning more than 520 hectares between them.

At the time the emergency was declared, Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said the declaration enabled Council to call on a broad range of resources from outside the district. It was also a very strong signal to residents of the gravity of the situation.

“This was a very serious situation. Hundreds of hectares of land was on fire, a family’s home was lost and more houses were threatened. It is a great relief that all the resources we were able to gather in have got us to where we are today and we are able to lift this declaration.”

It was not a sign that the fire risk in the region had changed, said Hastings District Council local incident controller Alison Banks.

“The risk is still extremely high. This signals only that the immediate response level has decreased. Hastings, in fact the whole of the East Coast, remains under a complete fire ban. Council has advised that it will consider prosecution of anyone in Hastings who lights a fire in the outdoors, including hangi, solid fuel barbecues and fireworks.”

Seven crews remain on the Waimarama fire site today. NZ Army crews will take over the night shift later today.

Crews will continue working at extinguishing hot spots at the three major fire sites (Waimarama, Colin White Rd, and Ripia Stream) over the coming days.

The change in status means that the Craggy Range Rd and Lopez Lane road closures have been lifted, however Council is still asking those who don’t need to be in those areas to stay away to allow firefighting vehicles safe access.

Meanwhile, people living in the areas of the fires are being asked to remain prepared to react if conditions change.

Residents may still see smoke from within the fire’s perimeter, however any flare ups are confined to within the 30m fire breaks the fire services have put in place.

The stats:

One house and 165 hectares of grassland and pine plantation lost in the Waimarama fire

February

In the Colin White Rd fire 270 hectares of grassland has been burnt

In the Ripia Stream fire (northeast of Puketitiri) 87 hectares in beech and hardwood scrub has been lost

In the Endsleigh Road fire three hectares has been burnt

ENDS

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