Preparation for wildfires

Home owners living in the kanuka forest on Wanaka’s Mt Iron and Little Mt Iron are the subject of a study on how prepared they are for a "wildfire".

The research is being done by the Scion rural fire research group which met residents last week.

There has been concern for years about the risk of fire on the mountains, and residents have investigated various ways to improve safety.

The fire research team is led by Lisa Langer who said yesterday the aim was to find out what people who live in the "rural-urban interface" understood about wildfire.

It is hoped the study will help residents, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and local government plan for future wildfires.

"People living in rural-urban interfaces can be especially vulnerable to wildfire, as the recent Lake Ohau, Nelson-Tasman and Port Hills fires have shown," Ms Langer said.

"We want to understand current wildfire risk awareness and preparedness and explore means of encouraging better wildfire preparations for the future."

Residents are being interviewed and it is planned to make contact with holiday-home owners who live outside the Wanaka area.

A survey of the wider community is also planned for this month.

A summary of findings and recommendations will be available at the end of September next year. Scion is also collaborating with Fire and Emergency NZ to engage with the community in the Queenstown’s "red zone" to the immediate west and north of Queenstown where there is also a high wildfire risk.

Scion is based in Rotorua carries out forestry-related research.


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