The blaze that appeared last night on Te Mata Peak at approximately 8:15 has been extinguished by fire crews, leaving a blackened hillside, and with all tracks and roads intact. The location of the fire was just above the saddle, between the road and the yellow walking track. Mike Devonshire, Park Trust Chairman was on the scene and expressed concern.
“We were mainly concerned about people in the park. We also have some new tenants in Peak House so we were also worried about them, as well as those people who were trapped above the fire.”
As the fire could be seen from Hastings and the surrounding area, the community was alarmed, but emergency services were able to contain it quickly, as Park Manager Emma Buttle confirmed.
“It was distressing to see the fire last night, but also a relief to see the fire crews get it under control so quickly. We are very grateful to the fire services for containing the fire and being on the scene within minutes. I was on the scene myself and saw how quickly they worked.”
The Park would like to extend gratitude to the local emergency services, without whom significant damage could have resulted. Though the current damage is currently being assessed, it appears that the surrounding trees and track have not been affected.
“We’re very fortunate with this situation. With a combination of favourable weather conditions and immediate response from the fire crews, we’re very lucky in how quickly they dealt with the situation. The wind was coming from the west and so was blowing away from the forest and bush. The fact remains that this time of year fire is a major risk, and we have to remain vigilant at all times,” commented Devonshire.
Though the cause of the fire is still unknown, the Park Trust would like to remind the community that fireworks and cigarettes are strictly prohibited in the park, and all precautions should be taken by park users to prevent fires.
The roads and tracks are now open to the public, and the Park Trust encourages all park users to be mindful of the affected area and continue to enjoy the Park.