Extreme fire risk in Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui, track closures across regional parks

  • Published Date 19 Jan 2024
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The ridge section of the Grand Loop track in the Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui regional park is temporarily closed to the public due to extreme wildfire risk. Daily access restrictions are also in place for the lighthouse complex between 1pm and 9pm. 

Greater Wellington eastern parks team leader Ricky Clarkson says the track closure is a precautionary measure to protect visitors and controls are in place for staff, contractors and volunteers.  

“The fire danger level at Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui has risen to red, indicating an extremely high risk of fire. To ensure the safety of people and our staff, we are temporarily reducing access to areas within the park until the risk has lowered,” says Clarkson.  

“Fire can easily ignite and spread quickly. We ask people to exercise caution, and if visiting the park, to do so in the early morning or late afternoon." 

At Parangarahu Lakes, Whitireia Park, and West Belmont the risk of wildfire is orange, or very high, with the following tracks closed daily between 1pm and 9pm:

  • Whitireia Park: Te Onepoto Loop Track
  • West Belmont: Waihora Loop and Māra Roa tracks.

"Temporary track closures during the hottest parts of the day help us protect those visiting regional parks this summer," says Clarkson. 

“When you’re in a regional park, make sure you always know where you are and the nearest exit routes. If you see smoke or fire and believe there is a risk to people or property, please call 111 immediately and request 'Fire'."

Greater Wellington is regularly monitoring the risk of wildfires across all regional parks, which Clarkson says is crucial to staying ahead of evolving conditions. 

"We know the El Niño weather pattern is contributing to a riskier-than-normal fire season, while climate change means we will continue to experience hotter, drier summers.” 

For the latest information on park access and closures, and tips for staying safe in our parks, please visit our wildfire page.

Updated January 31, 2024 at 2:48 PM

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