Updated smoke forecast for Nelson fire

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A second smoke forecast has been produced for the Pigeon Valley forest fire near Wakefield, Nelson. This provides an indication of where the smoke may go today and tomorrow.

The smoke model run is for the fire burning in heavy pine fuels, and is therefore a worst-case scenario for particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations which should be used as an indicator only. Cooler, damper weather and fire containment may reduce the amount of smoke produced.

In the forecast, anything orange or purple indicates higher probabilities of harmful smoke, while yellow indicates the extent of the smoke plume but is generally not considered harmful to public health.

If fire activity persists, smoke hazard remains high. Three things to note are:
(1) Smoke could be heavy (even if the fire area is small today) closest to the fire, with smoke settling in the valleys in the early morning and this evening.
(2) Narrow valleys are vulnerable to smoke impacts on visibility (roads) and health. Down-valley smoke drainage is likely.
(3) Of high importance, smoke is predicted to go towards Upper Moutere, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Tasman, Motueka, Wakefield, Brightwater, Richmond and possibly Nelson City on Friday morning (0300 and onward) and remain in this direction throughout the morning. If the fire were to flare up, this smoke impact will be heavy. Even with low levels of burning, thick smoke may be observed in the early mornings.

For the vast majority of people, the smoke will be unpleasant but carries no major risk to their health. However those with asthma or other breathing conditions may be more severely affected. People should avoid exposure where possible by staying indoors with windows and doors closed.

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