Level 1 water restrictions are in place for Hāwea, Luggate and Arthurs Point. For more information on what this means, please visit our water restrictions webpage.

Managing the risk of wildfire

A wildfire in one of our reserves could have a devastating effect.   Find out about how we manage reserve and reserve trail closures during extreme conditions.      

Reserve closures

Our reserves are great places to visit and enjoy.  But over summer there may be days where elevated fire danger means they may be unsafe. 

There is a total fire ban in place for the Ben Lomond, Queenstown Hill and Mount Iron Recreation Reserves and trails. We have also developed a set of protocol and guidelines to help us make decisions on how to manage the reserves in extreme conditions. This may result in occasional closures to ensure public safety.  

Get the latest status of each reserve below.  

Red means the reserve is closed. Green means its open.  Click into each reserve for more details.

  • Status: Open

    Last updated: 21 December 2023 

    Safety info: A total fire ban is in place in this location.  Do not smoke, or carry out any activities that may result in a spark. If you see smoke or fire, please call 111 immediately.

    Map of area: 

    Map of Ben Lomond Recreation Reserve in Queenstown
    Map of Ben Lomond Recreation Reserve in Queenstown
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  • Status: Open

    Last updated: Saturday 13 January 2024

    Safety info: A total fire ban is in place in this location.  Do not smoke, or carry out any activities that may result in a spark. If you see smoke or fire, please call 111 immediately.

    Map of area: 

    Map showing Mt Iron recreation reserve
    Map showing Mt Iron recreation reserve
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  • Status: Open

    Last updated:  21 December 2023

    Safety info: A total fire ban is in place in this location.  Do not smoke, or carry out any activities that may result in a spark. If you see smoke or fire, please call 111 immediately.

    Map of area:

    Map of Queenstown Hill Recreation Reserve
    Map of Queenstown Hill Recreation Reserve
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Guidelines and protocols


Sign up for e-txt notifications

The fastest way to find out about a reserve closure is to sign up for our 'e-txt' service.  

We'll send you a txt message to let you know when a reserve needs to close or has been reopened.   


Frequently asked questions

We’ve provided answers to a number of frequently asked questions below. 

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, please get in touch with us at

letstalk@qldc.govt.nz

or phone QLDC customer services on 03 441 0499 and we’ll get it answered as quickly as possible.

  • To ensure potential risk to life and community safety is appropriately managed when the wildfire conditions are assessed to be ‘extreme’.

    By way of background, in 2018, QLDC set out to understand the threat that wildfires pose to, or from Council administered land. A draft report was prepared, then updated in 2022. The report reviewed 12 public reserves across the district and outlined many recommended interventions across four categories, including: signage and education programmes, creation of fire breaks, legislative changes and early warning systems.

    In most reserves, a multifaceted and multi-agency response will be needed to reduce the wildfire risk and many of the recommendations within the report require further investigation by means of a business case. The business case is progressing and will outline estimated costs and the proposed implementation staging of the wildfire recommendations.

    In the meantime, QLDC is moving forward with some interventions in the highest risk areas such as Ben Lomond, Queenstown Hill and Mount Iron Reserves.

    Installation of an Environmental Monitoring System is to happen in 2024 and new procedures have been introduced to manage activity and events within these reserves during high-risk periods.

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  • QLDC has introduced new guidance to manage activity and events within these reserves during high-risk periods.  These include controls to reduce the risk of wildfire ignitions from activities and events that may cause sparks or generate heat.

    Activities such as smoking, fireworks, chainsaw use, grass mowing when the grass or scrub is dry, cutting, grinding and actions where metal may strike metal or stone have a history of starting fires.

    The guidelines set out criteria for assessing wildfire risk and details of trigger points for potential closure of reserves during extreme conditions.

    The identified trigger points are based on the FENZ fire weather indices and codes.  They consider:

    • the Build Up Index (BUI) which is a measure of how much fuel is dried out and available to burn, and;
    • the Fire Weather Index (FWI) which is a measure of fire intensity that indicates how damaging a fire may be and how hard it will be to control.

    If you need assistance using these documents, please contact services@qldc.govt.nz 

     

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  • When a reserve closes, QLDC will:

    • Communicate directly with relevant leaseholders
    • Put up onsite signage
    • Share the message with local news outlets via a media release
    • Send a ‘community txt alert’ to those who have subscribed.  If you are not subscribed to receive community text alerts, you can sign up here
    • Update this webpage and publish an alert on the Council homepage
    • Share on social media channels

    When a reserve reopens we will: 

    • Communicate directly with relevant leaseholders
    • Update onsite signage
    • Send a ‘community txt alert’ to those who have subscribed.  If you are not subscribed to receive community text alerts, you can sign up here
    • Update this webpage and publish an alert on the Council homepage
    • Share on social media channels
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  • A reserve and all trails will remain closed until fire indices reduce to safer levels. This will depend on weather patterns.

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  • There is no access allowed to the Ben Lomond Reserve and trails while closed.    

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  • There is no access allowed to the Mount Iron or Queenstown Hill Reserves and trails while closed.    

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  • Entering the reserve while it is closed is at your own risk.  QLDC will take all reasonable steps to communicate the closure to the community and users. 

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  • Reserves will not be locked but there will be signage in place at key entrance points.  Gates will be installed at entrance points this year (2024).   

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  • Call 111 immediately.

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  • Fire and Emergency NZ will respond to a fire on the reserve.  QLDC and Otago Civil Defense and Emergency Management will provide support where required. 

    There is  a total fire ban in the three reserves, If you see smoke or fire please call 111 immediately. 

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Environmental Monitoring Sensors

This summer, we’ll be installing a network of pole-mounted environmental sensor units.  Five will be installed around the Ben Lomond Recreation Reserve in Queenstown and a further five will be installed around the Mount Iron Recreation Reserve in Wānaka.  

The sensors are 8.5m high and will provide live micro-climate weather updates, air quality, and visual and thermal imaging which can also assist in early fire detection.

The information gathered by the sensors is transmitted in real-time to allow environmental conditions to be monitored and any fire ignition source to be immediately detected. The information will be available on an app to help people understand and adjust to changing conditions and be alerted if a fire event is detected.