With continued hot dry weather, and after seeking advice from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Tasman District Council has closed access to forestry plantation areas at Kingsland Forest, Moturoa Rabbit Island, Rough Island and Tunnicliff Forest.

To be clear, these closures affect the forestry plantations in the reserves only at this stage. Access to the beach, picnic areas and equestrian park at Moturoa Rabbit Island and Rough Island remains open for now.

The decision to close access is made to protect public safety as the BUI (Build Up Index)* is now above 80. A key factor in deciding to close these areas is the risk of anyone in the reserves being overrun by fire before they can escape, if a fire started. Fire travels exponentially faster on uphill slopes than it does on flat ground and forest areas burn more intensely.

Signage will be in place at all the closed areas so please take note and stay out for you own safety.

The lower reserve areas below Kingsland Forest (Easby Park and Dellside) remain open for now but we remind people to visit the reserves early in the morning or in the evening, when the fire risk is lower.

The Great Taste Trail coastal access route at Moturoa Rabbit Island also remains open at this time.

Tasman District Council will assess the situation weekly and further closures may be needed if weather conditions stay the same. Any decisions will be made in consultation with Fire and Emergency and with protecting public safety as our top priority.   

* The BUI is used by Fire and Emergency and other agencies to measure fire risk – it’s “an indicator of the difficulty in supressing a fire that has started”.