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Hot spot watch ongoing; 10am

Hot spot watch ongoing; 10am

All out-of-region fire crews will be stood down at end of shift tomorrow, with local crews taking over the management of the fire scenes.

This morning National Rural Fire Authority incident controller John Sutton said he was resting the bulk of the local firefighter force today and tomorrow, before they fully took over on Saturday.

“They’ve been fighting fires for weeks and after these latest very large events they are pretty flogged. Many of them have day jobs or are self-employed and have families so we need to give them time to catch up with their employers, businesses and families.”

The three largest fires (Waimarama Rd; Colin White Rd and Ripia Stream) are all considered to be contained but still require monitoring and hot spot attention.

The Colin White Rd and Ripia Stream sites were checked for hot spots using infrared heat-detecting technology yesterday and all sites would continue to be checked both from the air and on foot.

Mr Sutton said the aim was to have no hot spots within a 100m area inside the Waimarama Rd containment line by end of shift on Friday, “which will give us a very big defence space”. The same applied at Colin White Rd.

Hastings District Council local incident controller Craig Cameron said the efforts of all the fire personnel had been “outstanding”.

“We can’t thank them enough. All of these people have given up all of their time and contact with their families, to help us protect our people and houses.”

Welfare teams had also been “fully active” over the three days, knocking on the doors of those nearest the Waimarama RD and Colin White Rd fires, ensuring they were fully aware of any actions they needed to take.

He said it was imperative that residents did not take any risks with fire that could put the district back into a similar position. “We have rain forecast but it is unlikely that any rain we get will be enough to fully dampen down the region.”

The Total Fire Ban would remain in place until further notice; which meant no outdoor fires at all, including solid fuel barbecues (coal and wood), hangi and fireworks.

ENDS


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