Twizel Community Taking The Fire Risk Seriously
Visitors to the Mackenzie Basin this weekend are being provided with information about the local fire danger in the hope that they will avoid risky activities that could spark a wildfire.
Fire and Emergency has brought in extra resources to support the local volunteer fire brigades, including having helicopters with monsoon buckets on standby, automatically dispatching extra crews to all vegetation fires, and pre-positioning an incident management team in Twizel.
Incident Controller Rob Hands praised the responsible behaviour of locals and visitors so far this week. Several local contractors have suspended activities like roadside mowing and harvesting that have high risk of sparking a fire. Farmers also contacted Fire and Emergency directly looking for advice about reducing the fire risk associated with their essential farming activities.
Twizel is hosting a rowing regatta this weekend and the organisers are making sure that crews and their supporters know about the total fire ban and the need to take extra care and to be alert for any signs of fire.
Fire and Emergency has set up a community hub in the Twizel marketplace daily to provide advice for locals and visitors alike.
Residents are being encouraged to take steps on their own property that will make it easier for firefighters to operate if a fire does break out. This includes:
- Clearing flammable material from 10m around homes and buildings.
- Moving firewood stacked against houses
- Clearing gutters of dried leaves etc that will easily catch fire
- Clearing flammable material from under decks
- Trimming trees and bushes and removing the trimmings
- Keeping grass short (using a trimmer with a nylon line is safer in these conditions than a mower or trimmer with a metal blade that could create a spark)
- Make sure the Rural Addresses Property Identification (RAPID) number is clearly signposted
And Rob Hands said that everyone should have an evacuation plan for their household so everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire.
"Our responsibility is to identify the risk and educate the community how to reduce it. The landowner owns the risk for their property, and we will do everything we can to support them to take action."