Update 2pm 13 Jan 2022 - Waiharara Fire
This morning Fire and Emergency held a community meeting to provide an update on the fire and the longer term plans for the continued support for the community. Far North Councillor Dave Collard, NZ Rural Support Trust, Ngai Takoto, Department of Conservation and representatives of Fire and Emergency's Incident Management Team spoke to those who attended.
Incident Controller Peter Clark and Operations Manager Kevin Ihaka gave an update on the fire, what the fire crews are doing today and what planning the team has been doing for the winds predicted to come in from ex-tropical cyclone Cody. The fire has not increased in size and remains at just over 2400ha with a perimeter of 50km. Crews patrolling the perimeter have allowed us to increase the accuracy of our mapping. From this afternoon, strong winds are expected to kick in and to last through the weekend. While we are still dealing with peat fires burning underground, these winds may reignite the fire above ground, causing the fire to spread. We have done extensive planning for this weather event. We have lots of resources available, including eight helicopters on standby and have strong containment and control lines in place. A drone will also fly over the fire ground overnight as an observation tower for the next few days. This will provide the crews with valuable up to date information about what the fire is doing. However, we do prepare for the worst-case scenario and have plans in place to evacuate residents between the fire ground and Houhora should the winds cause the fire to spread. Please follow the instructions of Fire and Emergency, Police and Civil Defence if you are asked to evacuate. If the winds do cause an issue, it is expected to affect the northern end of the fire ground - not Kaimaumau. Fire investigators are continuing to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.