Fire risk being closely monitored in the South Island
15 February 2019
Fire risk being closely monitored across the top of the South Island with some tracks closed
The Department of Conservation is closely monitoring conditions and will keep areas open wherever it is safe to do so but will be closing some tracks as fire risks increase.
DOC Northern South Island Regional Operations Director Roy Grose says the priority is keeping visitors safe.
“DOC is working closely with Fire and Emergency NZ and local tour operators to ensure people entering conservation areas understand the risks and know what to do if fire occurs.
“We’ve closed some areas based on a range of risk factors including terrain and vegetation types, and DOC’s ability to evacuate and communicate with visitors.
“Making sure the public have good and accurate information is key. We are working hard to make sure the DOC website remains updated with any changes,” says Mr Grose.
In the Abel Tasman National Park, the Coastal Track remains open but there are closures to interior tracks and some campgrounds are closed due to extremely dry conditions. All hunting permits have been cancelled.
“We are confident that along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track we can manage the risk including our ability to evacuate people.
“If people see smoke they should head immediately to the beach. Dial 111 if you have coverage. Says Mr Grose
The road through Molesworth is closed. Members of the public can still access Molesworth by joining a guided tour as concessionaires carry special firefighting equipment.
It is expected that a diversion will be put in place on the ridgeline of the Queen Charlotte Track between Kenepuru and Torea Saddles next week. The campsite at Moawhitu on D’Urville Island has already been closed and other remote campsites in the Sounds may also close next week.
In the Nelson Lakes, Teetotal has been closed to vehicle access and West Bay campground may be closed early next week.
“Everyone visiting tracks and campgrounds needs to be taking every precaution to guard against the fire risk that includes a total ban on lighting fires and no smoking.
Gas cookers should only be used in cooking shelters or on flat bare earth or rock surfaces” says Mr Grose.
If you see smoke anywhere call 111.
Other key closures include:
Temporary track closures
Temporary campsite closures
Gibbs Hill Track Tinline Great Walk Campsite
Falls River Track Anapai Great Walk Campsite
Abel Tasman Inland Track Mutton Cove Great Walk Campsite
Taupo Point and access track
Temporary hut/shelter closures
Castle Rock Hut
Wainui Hut including access through Wainui Saddle and Birds Clearing
The Caanan Campsite and surrounding tracks e.g. Rameka, Harwoods hole and Rawhiti Cave remain open.
Information is being regularly updated on the DOC website www.doc.govt.nz