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Fire in Motueka Valley - Update

Fire in Motueka Valley - Update
3 December 2017

Media Release sent on behalf of FIre and Emergency New Zealand - Nelson.

Fire and Emergency received a 111 call at 12:30pm today from a homeowner in the Motueka Valley who reported a fire behind their house. The fire had spread into a steep hillside of 10-year-old pines and was burning uphill.

Fire and Emergency volunteer crews from Tapawera, Ngatimoti, Tasman, Upper Moutere and Brightwater along with silviculture crews from Nelson Forests Ltd and Tasman Pine attended.

At the height of the fire, 50 people were involved on site. Three helicopters were deployed and used during the afternoon. Quick response and action from the responding crews meant the area burnt was kept to 2.5 ha before it was contained at 2:15pm. Owners of a property south of the fire were put on notice in case the fire could not be contained. Once the fire was contained they were notified.

Crews are working through to nightfall dampening down hotspots, with a crew staying overnight to monitor the site. The dry conditions meant the fire has burnt deeper into the ground and larger material, so requires more effort to completely extinguish it.

A fire investigator is onsite this afternoon trying to determine how the fire started. Initial suspicions are that it may be associated with a solar power panel system.

Over the last week, our crews have attended four fires, three of which were lightning strikes earlier in the week. The coastal area around Tasman Bay through to Tapawera and the eastern hills behind Nelson and Richmond are particularly dry. The spring grass growth is now rapidly drying off so fires will start easily in these conditions. People are asked to be vigilant and careful when doing any outdoor activity the creates sparks or heat.

If people are wanting to light a fire in the open air, a permit is required. For details on how to obtain a permit, your local conditions and requirements go to www.checkitsalright.nz

Ends.

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