All upper tracks in the Wither Hills Farm Park are now closed.
With the recent warm, windy weather, the grass cover and vegetation has become tinder dry. The Mountain Bike Park and all of the Wither Hills Farm Park, except for the lower tracks, are now closed in the interests of public safety.
Marlborough District Council strongly advises users not to enter the closed areas and use only the Lower Farm Track, Mapp Track, the town boundary or Taylor River Reserve tracks.
‘Upper Track Closed’ signs have been installed at numerous entry points in the Farm Park to reinforce the message.
Over the summer months, Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) reviews the fire danger status daily. Once the fire risk reaches ‘Very High’ and grass curing indices exceed 70, closure of at risk areas of the farm park takes place. These access restriction trigger points are defined in the Wither Hills Farm Park Fire Management Plan.
“Given the mixture of dry fuels, slope, warm temperatures and windy conditions, a fire would spread quickly, placing people at extreme risk,” said Robin Dunn, Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Officer. “We encourage all visitors to the Farm Park to be fire-wise and keep safe,” he said.
Principal Rural Fire Officer for the Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire District Chris Haylessaid: “With little rain in the forecast and higher temperatures expected, along with the current windy conditions, we would estimate the indices could push to ‘Extreme’ in the next week or so.”