Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Fire and Emergency NZ marks a year on from Port Hills fires

Fire and Emergency NZ marks a year on from Port Hills fires

Today marks a year since the fires on Canterbury’s Port Hills.

The two fires that broke out on February 13 eventually merged and burnt through 1,600 hectares of land. Firefighters worked to save more than 90 homes, but nine homes were lost and five others were damaged. At its peak, the fire had 100,000 kilowatts of energy, the equivalent of up to four atom bombs, and it took 66 days to fully extinguish.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Regional Manager Rural, Richard McNamara, says fires of such scale and complexity are likely to become more commonplace.

"The climate is changing, that’s a fact. We are getting more extreme weather, and it means bigger storms, heavier rainfall and prolonged droughts - which of course means a greater fire risk and more fires. We’ve certainly seen that this summer," he says.

The number of vegetation fires this summer has jumped 25 per cent compared to the previous year. Fire crews responded to more than 1000 vegetation or scrub fires last December alone. Overall, between November 2017 to January 2018 there were 2215 vegetation fires, up from 1749 the summer before.

Fire Region Manager Paul Henderson says since the establishment of Fire and Emergency in July last year, firefighters are more prepared to respond quickly and effectively when it comes to the rising number of fires and weather related callouts.

"Our urban and rural firefighters are training together and with partner organisations on a regular basis. We are trialing community based approaches to fire risk assessment and prevention, and improving how we communicate with the public during incidents."

"That’s contributed directly to our emergency response this summer. Our crews have faced a variety of incidents and have been exceptional at getting the job done on behalf of the communities we serve."

Mr McNamara says the responses to recent fires, including the Burnside fire in Dunedin and recent fires in the Selwyn District, are proof of that.

"For example with the fire at Hororata on Christmas Day, we had aircraft on call and responding within five minutes of the call," he says.

Mr McNamara says it’s important people know there is a greater risk of fires in the future, so they can be prepared.

"Previously we’ve dealt with fires bigger than the Port Hills, but they’ve been in more remote places so we’ve been able to get on top of them without having to think about the risk to life and property. But now with more urban development in rural areas, that risk is greater."

Richard McNamara says it is still Fire and Emergency’s top priority to keep people safe.

"It’s our responsibility to do our upmost to protect people’s lives, the lives of our firefighters and our responders including our pilots."

Tomorrow will mark a year since the tragic death of Steve Askin, who lost his life in a crash while he was fighting the Port Hills fires.

Mr McNamara says his thoughts are with his family.

"We grieve for Steve and his family, we have not forgotten him, he was part of the firefighting community and we think about him often."

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>

 

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels