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Several public walkways, car parks and access roads to the DoC and Matariki Forests in Hanmer Springs are now closed to the public due to extreme fire danger conditions. The red flag that signals these closures has now been raised in the Village Square, and this will remain in place until the dangerous conditions become favourable again.
The “Heritage Area” of the forest, which is under Hurunui District Council management, will remain open for the time being but will be monitored closely. This area is on the southern side of Jollies Pass Road and includes Dog Stream Reserve and several forest walks. Being slightly lower lying, water naturally runs off to this area and so it has been less susceptible to the recent heat wave. However, with the continued high temperatures and a lack of rainfall in the catchment, this area is also becoming dangerously dry.
Principal Rural Fire Officer, Brennan Wiremu, is advising anyone who is unsure which walkways are still open to check with the i-SITE Visitor Centre beside the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and spa (phone 315-0020), or to phone the Hurunui District Council on 314-8816.