Wither Hills a no go zone

00:33, Feb 21 2014
Ian Conway
Ian Conway of the Marlborough Emergency Services support services puts up a sign an entrance to the Wither Hills Farm Park regarding high fire risks.

Walkers, runners and mountain bikers have been asked to stay off the higher slopes of the Wither Hills during the afternoon as the risk of fire reaches serious levels.

The Marlborough District Council this morning put up signs at the entrance to the popular recreational area warning the public not to venture to the higher slopes during the afternoons and early evenings.

Marlborough Emergency Services manager John Foley said the fire risk at the Wither Hills Farm Park is very high and, with forecasts of 30 degree temperatures expected over the coming days, the fire risk will be pushed to extreme levels.

Fire Warning

A wind-driven grass fire will move very fast and create an extremely high risk to anyone in the vicinity.

''It's important people understand that a grass fire moves at terrific speed and, once a blaze ignites, the situation quickly becomes serious. You cannot out-run a fire travelling fast across the slopes - particularly when the wind comes up,'' Mr Foley said. 

The new signs at the entrances of the farm park will advise the public that it is not wise to venture into the upper reaches of the Farm Park between the hours of 12 noon and 7pm.

They will remain in place until there is a significant reduction in the fire risk.


The Marlborough Express