Fire danger sign in East Harbour Regional Park with the hand pointing to moderateWildfire season – What you need to know

We’re in wildfire season which means the Greater Wellington Regional Parks team is monitoring fire danger in our region.

From 2023, Greater Wellington is implementing fire risk levels in your Regional Parks, a critical step in ensuring the safety and well-being of our park users.

This summer, the El Niño weather pattern is contributing to a riskier than normal fire season. And as we grapple with the impacts of climate change, the threat of wildfires has increased, meaning we’re now taking proactive measures to mitigate risks.

The decision to restore former grazing land in certain parks to native forest has also temporarily increased the risk of fire as we wait for planted natives to establish.

Like Fire and Emergency New Zealand, we are using a colour coded fire risk system ranging from green (low risk) to purple (very extreme risk).

Each level may trigger restrictions within our parks, such as access or activities allowed, we will update the park notice section on the pages below with updates and more information as the fire season progresses.

FIRE WARNING at the following parks:

  • Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui - Orange, Very High
    • This area of the park is open from 8am to 1pm, with restrictions in place
    • Baring Head Ridge Track will remain closed
    • Please follow all signage in the parks.
    • Do not enter areas of the park with limited exit options.
  • Parangarahu Lakes - Orange, Very High
    • This area of the park is open from 8am to 1pm, with restrictions in place
    • Cameron Ridge Track will remain closed
    • Please follow all signage in the parks.
    • Do not enter areas of the park with limited exit options.
  • Whitireia Park - Yellow, High
  • West Belmont - Yellow, High
    • Access has returned to normal for all users.
    • Māra Roa Loop Track remains closed to the public between 1pm and 9pm.
    • Fire risk is lower in the early morning and evenings. Consider visiting regional parks at these times. 
    • Do not enter areas of the park with limited exit options.
  • Queen Elizabeth Park - Yellow, High

Wildfire season update – 11/03/2024

Even after some rain across the region, wildfire risk remains high with restrictions in place for some of our regional parks.

Longer spells of sustained rain are needed to help the grass to green up before fire risk is lowered. This could take 2-3 weeks after a decent downpour. Areas with long, dry grass could take longer.

According to NIWA, this has been one of Wellington’s driest summers on record. This means with little moisture in the ground, a fire would spread very quickly.

We ask the public to continue to stay out of closed areas until further notice. These precautions are in place to keep you safe.

Tips for staying safe

General tips

  • Always keep a cell phone on you and call 111 in the event of a fire.
  • Check what activities are permitted or not permitted within a park.
  • During periods of very hot and dry conditions visit parks during the morning before the hottest part of the day.
  • Know where you are always in a park and know the exit routes.
  • If there is a fire move away and leave the park by the safest exit.
  • Refrain from smoking or vaping in our regional parks, however if you need to, please ensure you fully extinguish butts and take them with you.

Cooking and heating
Some activities will not be permitted in certain parks. Refer to the relevant park’s pages for restrictions. Take extreme care with any gas barbecues, camping heaters, and do not light backcountry campfires or bonfires on beaches.

Vehicles

  • Don’t drive your vehicle onto dry grass or scrub. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires.
  • Motorbikes are required to have an exhaust spark arrestor and carry a fire extinguisher.
  • 4x4 vehicles are required to carry first aid firefighting equipment that is specific to fire danger levels.

Hunting

  • Shoot in areas free of dry vegetation—and avoid shooting on hot windy days. Bullet fragments can be extremely hot and can easily start a fire.
  • Ammunition type - steel core and solid copper ammunition have the highest potential to start fires. Lead core bullets are less likely to ignite surrounding vegetation.
  • Incendiary or tracer ammunition can easily ignite vegetation and is not permitted.

Other

  • Electric bikes – keep electrics maintained to manufactures requirements and don’t operate when damaged. Don’t operate bikes with home built electrical systems.
  • Fireworks are not permitted.
Updated April 11, 2024 at 12:33 PM

Get in touch

Phone:
0800 496 734
Email:
info@gw.govt.nz