Two arrested for deliberately lighting fire in Pigeon Valley

NZ Herald ,
Upper South Island,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 March 2019, 5:12PM
Police were notified just after 2pm that someone had been seen trying to start a fire. (Photo / File)
Police were notified just after 2pm that someone had been seen trying to start a fire. (Photo / File)


Two people have been arrested in a nudist camp after attempting to set a fire in the Tasman District this afternoon.

Police were called after two people were seen acting suspiciously in a rural Upper Moutere forestry block at around 2pm today.

Detective Inspector Paul Borrell said these people left the forestry area in a vehicle but were apprehended some kilometres away.

A spokeswoman at Nelson Sun Club said the pair fled in their car and were chased on to the property where they got stuck and were arrested.

The response involved Fire and Emergency NZ, police staff, and a helicopter.

"We would like to thank local contractors who initially spotted the pair and immediately notified Police," Borrell said. 

"The use of the helicopter enabled real-time information to be passed to police providing the location of the car and persons shortly before 3pm.

"Two people were taken into custody without incident. We are currently speaking to them in relation to the this fire."

Fire and Emergency NZ said they were called to a fire on Dovedale Rd, near Wakefield.

"Basically we got a call from the Richmond Lookout, which is the fire lookout in the area, stating they could see a fire," a spokesman said.

"They arrived and it was approximately 3m by 3m, so not very big. It is now been extinguished.

"The road was closed for a short period of time while they dealt with it."

It is the second flare-up since the massive blaze last month that scorched thousands of hectares of the Tasman District.

This afternoon, Nelson Tasman Civil Defence said the Pigeon Valley fire is now controlled and the notice to evacuate is lifted.

Recovery manager Richard Kirby said this is good news and it means residents in the area around the fire ground no longer have to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.

A controlled fire is one that is extinguished around the perimeter and is not moving. It has a 100 metre "cold zone".

There is still a total fire ban in place throughout the region, however, a machinery ban has been lifted.

Fire and Emergency NZ encourages businesses and farmers to register through the Tasman District Council website to receive daily fire risk updates.

Even though the notice to evacuate has been lifted, rural residents should have an evacuation plan as the fire risk remains very high.

Above-average temperatures have worsened fire-making conditions in bone-dry Nelson and they look set to stay for the next three months.

Niwa's outlook for the March to May period forecast temperatures on the warmer side for the entire country, as well as a bit of rainfall.

The North Island would receive either near or below-normal rainfall, while the west of the South Island would see above-normal totals.

Totals in the east and north of the South Island would most likely be near normal.
Niwa's Ben Noll said that the Nelson region - much of which has been sweltering in a drought - would be difficult to forecast.

Much of the North Island and upper South Island were still experiencing dry conditions, but nowhere were these more severe than the Nelson-Tasman region.

Last week, when another fire broke out near Nelson, the region was on track for its third warmest, and third driest, summer in recorded history.



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