High winds cancel access to Tasman valleys due to risk of 'significant flare ups'

Plans to allow allow Tasman residents restricted access to fire-affected valleys today has been cancelled and conditional re-entry to Pigeon Valley Road has been postponed due to high winds.

Civil Defence Group Controller Angus McKay said high winds posed too much of a risk with some gusts already reaching 81km/h this morning.

"We have been watching weather and wind conditions closely overnight and, together with Fire and Emergency New Zealand, have made the call to suspend restricted access today," Mr McKay said.

"This also means that planned conditional re-entry for the remaining Pigeon Valley Road residents, (including Sharp Road) has been cancelled today.

"The risk of significant flare-ups and our ability to evacuate people at short notice has been the primary consideration behind making this decision.

"Police and Defence Force staff will maintain cordons in the area and Fire and Emergency New Zealand staff will be monitoring the fireground closely and responding to flare-ups and hot spots."

The decision does not affect those already granted access to their homes but Fire and Emergency New Zealand Area Commander Grant Haywood says caution is still needed.

“Those who are already back in their homes are reminded to be vigilant, dial 111 immediately if they see any fire and must remain prepared to evacuate at short notice if required."

Earlier this week, crews were forced to jump into action after the fire broke a containment line near Eves Valley.

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    The attempt to extinguish the fire is now approaching day 10. Source: 1 NEWS