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

 

Pigeon Valley Fire Was Accidental

Investigation into Pigeon Valley Fire classifies it as accidental


An investigation into one of New Zealand’s largest plantation forest fires has classified the fire as accidental.

The Pigeon Valley Fire, which began on the afternoon of 5 February, eventually burned around 2300ha of commercial plantation forest, property and pastures, and had a final perimeter of 35km. A home and shed were also lost in the fire.

Fire and Emergency Principal Rural Fire Officer for Nelson Tasman Ian Reade says the report found the fire was caused by the use of farm equipment. [Eds: see note at the end of this release]

The fire was initially sparked by an agricultural contractor discing a rocky paddock. The report found that sparks from the discing equipment - from metal on stone or metal on metal contact - ignited dry grass in the paddock. Fuelled by southerly winds, the fire then quickly spread onto a steep recently harvested hillside of forestry nearby.

"This fire proves that, in extreme weather conditions, a seemingly every-day rural activity can end up causing widespread damage," Mr Reade says.

The weather conditions in the area during the six weeks prior to the fire were characterised by little or no rainfall, high temperatures, and often windy conditions. The Nelson Tasman Rural Fire District was in a prohibited fire season at the time, meaning there was a total fire ban.

"It was the proverbial perfect storm."

Mr Reade says the conditions Nelson and Tasman experienced this summer were extreme, but not unique. Parts of Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago, Bay of Plenty and Northland all had similar fire risk profiles.

It is likely these conditions will become increasingly common during summer in many parts of New Zealand, particularly on the eastern seaboard, he says.

"It’s important people take heed of our advice, which focuses on reducing the likelihood of fires starting, and mitigating the potential damage to property if a fire occurs.

"There are many simple things people can do to prevent fires starting, from not using machinery which can emit sparks in hot, dry and windy conditions, to ensuring electric fences are not in a position or used where they could spark onto dry vegetation.

"Steps can also be taken to protect property from a fire, such as removing material near the home that could be ignited by flying embers, for example leaves in gutters, firewood heaps by the house or timber stored under the house."

He says the most at-risk areas are properties which have large areas of grass, scrub or trees nearby.

"One very simple approach is to create a safety zone around your home, where trees and vegetation have been thinned out, pruned or cleared to create a barrier so the spread of fire towards the home is slowed."

Landscaping using fire resistance plants is also another very effective strategy, he says.

For more information on rural fire safety, go to www.fireandemergency.nz/farms-rural-properties-and-rural-businesses

Fire and Emergency has also released fire investigation reports into two other fires that occurred in February at Atawhai and RabbitIsland. It is likely both these fires were deliberately lit.

Note: The Pigeon Valley Fire and Atawhai reports are split into two documents on our website because of the size of each report. This is the second half of the Pigeon Valley Fire report and this is the second half of the Atawhai report.

If these links don’t work, go to this page on our website: https://fireandemergency.nz/responses-to-oia-requests/

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Mediaworks: Three to be sold or closed

MediaWorks has today announced that it intends to sell MediaWorks TV as well as its Flower Street property which includes its television head office and studios.

The intention is for MediaWorks to sell the television side of the business while retaining ownership of radio and QMS. The Flower Street property will also be put up for sale with a lease back option for a buyer to continue to operate television from that location.

MediaWorks Chairman Jack Matthews said that MediaWorks is committed to continuing to grow its business in New Zealand while recognising that free-to-air television operates in a challenging environment. More>>

 
 

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>

ALSO:

Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Disasterous Police Pursuit, Excessive Use Of Dogs

At no stage did Police follow the correct procedure for the commencement of a pursuit... A Police dog handler used his dog to help with the arrest of two of the young people. One suffered injuries resulting in his hospitalisation, and the Authority found that the use of the dog was an excessive use of force. More>>

ALSO:

‘Hard Place To Be Happy’: Report On Youth Residential Care

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the report, A Hard Place to be Happy, contains important challenges from children and young people, aged 9 to 17, about their experiences in care and protection residences. “I found this report extremely difficult to read, and I think most New Zealanders would too.” More>>

Africa And Middle East Refugees: 'Family Link' Restriction Removed

The founder of the Double the Quota campaign has applauded the coalition government for Friday’s announcement that a discriminatory policy would be removed. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels