Naseby’s growing fire risk subject of safety meeting

A "hugely valuable" safety meeting was held in Naseby over the weekend, educating residents and crib owners about how to stay safe as the fire risk in the area grows.

More than 100 people packed into the Naseby Town Hall on Saturday to hear from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) representatives about how homeowners could better protect themselves and their homes from wildfire.

Naseby Vision chairwoman Adair Craik said the attendance of permanent and part-time residents was excellent.

"[It was] a really good turnout for Naseby," she said.

"Fenz delivered an amazing presentation."

The meeting was led by Fenz risk reduction adviser Mark Mawhinney, who spoke about what a "defendable" property looked like, "which was quite alien to us", Ms Craik said.

Homes located near trees, scrub or dry grass were at greater risk of wildfire during times of extreme fire danger.

Creating a safety zone — an area around a property, where vegetation has been modified, reduced or cleared — could create a barrier and slow the spread of fire towards a property.

Mr Mawhinney used examples and footage of real wildfires, including the October 2020 at the Lake Ohau Alpine Village.

While 48 homes and buildings were destroyed, no lives were lost due to the quick actions of Ohau residents who carried out the community’s wildfire plan.

"You saw real-life situations where just the smallest of changes in a property owner’s place could make a big difference to whether their house survived," Ms Craik said.

Following the meeting, Fenz wanted to establish a Naseby community response group.

"This group would provide a voice for the community and help Fenz in its efforts to ensure Naseby is more resilient to wildfire and other emergency events," Ms Craik said.

A video recording of the presentation will be made available for those who missed out.

Anyone interested in becoming part of the community response group should contact the Naseby Fire Brigade or Naseby Vision.