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Precautions Needed In Nelson Reserves As Fire Risk Rises

Due to recent drying winds and low rainfall, the fire risk across our region is increasing, and we all need to take precautions in our reserves.

Following discussions with Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), Acting Group Manager Community Services Martin Croft says Nelson City Council is today, Monday 15 January, erecting Stay Safe During Fire Season signage at the entrances to our main reserves outlining measures people can take to keep themselves safe during peak fire season.

“While we are not closing any reserves at this stage, we are asking people to take some sensible measures that will ensure their own safety when they visit a reserve." Martin says.

“We take our lead from FENZ and if the risk increases further, closures in our very high risk-rated reserves may be necessary, but this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.”

Throughout the summer fire season, Council will be working closely with FENZ to continually assess the fire risk and if any action needs to be taken. During the fire season we closely monitor the Build Up Index (BUI), which is an indicator of the difficulty in suppressing a fire that has started. Any decision around reserve closures is made by Council with advice from FENZ. Information on the fire risk will be updated every Friday on the Nelson Region Fire Risk Shape Nelson page and communicated via Antenno and the Council’s Facebook page. Any urgent changes will be sent via Antenno and on Facebook.

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We are now in our second highest fire risk level; orange: high – the grass is almost completely dry and there is an elevated risk of a fire starting. The highest level is red: extreme.

During this time, we recommend:

Visiting our reserves early in the morning (before midday) or in the evening (after 7pm), when temperatures and wind speeds are lower and humidity is higher, reducing the likelihood of fire starting and taking hold.

Taking a cellphone on your visit and letting someone know where you are going and when you will be back

Reviewing the reserve maps on our Shape Nelson website and familiarising yourself with the exit points and clear zones. Exit points lead off the reserve, while clear zones are areas of low vegetation and high visibility people can go to should rescue be required.

We strongly advise that reserve users remain in the lower areas only of the following reserves, this is for ease of evacuation in the event of a fire:

Grampians Reserve

Maitai Water Reserve

Marsden Valley Reserve

Tantragee Reserve (Codgers)

Atmore Reserve

Pipers Reserve

Hanby Park

Sir Stanley Whitehead Reserve

Brook Conservation Reserve

Botanical Hill Reserve

Roding Water Reserve

Bolwell Reserve

Please take note of this advice for your own safety and if you see signs of smoke or fire in any reserves, please call 111 immediately.

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