Fire and Emergency has publicly released our fire investigation report into the Pigeon Valley Fire.

The fire, which started on 5 February this year, eventually burned around 2300ha of commercial plantation forest, property and pastures, and had a final perimeter of 35km. A home and a shed were the only property lost in the fire.

The report has classified the fire as accidental and that it was caused by the use of farm equipment.

The fire was initially sparked by an agricultural contractor discing a rocky paddock. The report found that sparks from the discing equipment – from metal on stone or metal on metal contact – ignited dry grass in the paddock. Fuelled by southerly winds, the fire then quickly spread onto a steep recently harvested hillside of forestry nearby.

Principal Rural Fire Officer for Nelson Tasman Ian Reade says the event shows that, in extreme weather conditions, a seemingly every-day rural activity can end up causing widespread damage.

Fire and Emergency has also released fire investigation reports into two other fires that occurred in the Nelson-Tasman district during February – at Atawhai and Rabbit Island. The reports conclude it is likely both these fires were deliberately lit.

The independent operational review into Fire and Emergency’s response to the fires in Nelson-Tasman is likely to be released in October.

The see the reports, go to this page on the Fire and Emergency website: link)

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