In collaboration with Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), Department of Conservation, forestry companies and Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, is making further changes to reserve access as the fire risk continues to climb.

Richard Hollier, Reserves and Facilities Manager says, “We need to remind residents that we are not closing off access lightly. These decisions are based on the expert advice about the serious potential for loss of human life if fire broke out in these areas.”

Please be aware of these closed areas. Stay out for your own safety and the safety of those who would have to try to rescue you.

  • All reserves in the Lee Valley.
  • All reserves in the Aniseed Valley.
  • McLeans Reserve in the Motueka Valley.
  • Tasman’s Great Taste Trail through the lower edge of Tunnicliff Forest and up to Spooners Tunnel is now closed.
  • The back section of the Wai-iti Reserve is closed.
  • The forestry plantation areas of Kingsland Forest, Moturoa/Rabbit Island, Rough Island and Tunnicliff Forest remain closed.
  • Faulkners Bush Scenic Reserve from the Scout Den to the Lookout Point remains closed.
  • Upper Dellside remains closed.

Access still open

  • Access to the beach, picnic areas and the equestrian park at Moturoa/Rabbit Island and Rough Island is open.
  • Tasman’s Great Taste Trail coastal access route at Moturoa/Rabbit Island is open, providing access to and from Māpua.
  • Lower Dellside and Easby Park, including the playground remain open.

 Fire risk and reserve closures – Q and A

How was the decision made to close reserves?

FENZ has weekly meetings with stakeholders, including Tasman District Council, DOC, Nelson City Council and forestry companies to discuss risks and a coordinated response for any reserve closures. Decisions are guided by the Build Up Index (BUI), which is an indicator of the difficulty in suppressing a fire that has started.

What are the thresholds for closing reserves?

When the BUI reaches 60, Council installs signage warning of increasing fire risk. When the BUI reaches 80, FENZ advises Councils on which reserves should close. At BUI 100 full reserve closures will be implemented. The BUI (at the time of writing) is up to 114 in some places.

Why are some reserves shut and some open?

Closures will depend on the risk profile of each reserve, which varies according to weather conditions, vegetation type, topography, and the availability of evacuation routes. For instance, the risk profile in a pine forest is higher than it is for a reserve largely populated by less flammable native trees. Users should still take care in open reserves, please limit your visits to the early morning and evenings and stay in the lower areas for ease of evacuation. 

When will reserves be reopened?

Reserves are reopened when FENZ advises that risk factors have sufficiently decreased. Decisions are assessed on a weekly basis.