Southern Marine Parade will be cleared of woody debris over the next month following a spate of fires along the beach.
The Silt Recovery Taskforce is leading the clean-up, working with Napier City Council, Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ), and contractors to address the fire risk.
“We’re finding large logs that are charred, and seeing fires being regularly lit in the area which is a fire risk for the beach and community. Removing the woody debris is a priority,” says Darren de Klerk, Silt Recovery Taskforce Lead.
The team are working around ecological values in the area, with a bird survey being carried out ahead of any cleanup work.
“We’re committed to the safety of wildlife in the area, particularly nesting birds and skinks, and regular bird surveys will continue while works are ongoing. The team will be vigilant looking for nests, and buffer areas will be set up when they are found.”
“Contractors will start stacking and burning wood this week, working along 6km of beach from the southern end at Awatoto towards Te Awa, ending at the Foreshore Reserve Freedom Camping Carpark. We expect the work to take between three to five weeks.”
Any burning will follow FENZ guidance, and if a restricted fire season is put in place, crews will shred the material and cart it off-site. Where the wood will be burnt, the team will follow FENZ guidance, and will only burn when the conditions are suitable and wind is blowing away from the shore.
Crews will be working day and night shifts while clean-up is in the industrial area, which will shift to 7am – 7pm when they are within 100m of houses.
The taskforce, contractors and Napier City Council will work with those that use and reside on the beach to ensure their safety is managed while the clean-up effort is ongoing.
“We thank the community for your support and patience while we work to clean-up the beach,” adds Mr de Klerk.
Hawke’s Bay Community Risk Manager for FENZ, Nigel Hall, urges the community not to start fires in the open this summer, especially at beaches.
“There is cause for concern with temperatures rising, and our crews are spending a lot of time attending beach fires,” says Mr Hall.
“We need the public to be responsible and vigilant and not set fires that are going to require our attendance. In these conditions, fires will spread rapidly, grass and scrub are easily ignited, and fires will be difficult to control.”
“To check it is safe and legal to light fires where you are and to access safety advice, please go to checkitalright.nz .”
This clean-up work is funded through the Central Government sediment and debris fund administered by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.