Winds expected to pick up for Kaimaumau Fire

Jan. 13, 2022, 2:40 p.m.

Pressure is building for emergency and ground crew currently fighting the scrub fire in Kaimaumau as Tropical Cyclone Cody departs Fiji and heads toward the north eastern coast of New Zealand, bringing potential winds of up to 90kph.

“If we are not prepared for the high winds expected to come from the south east, the fire could reignite and then move toward Houhora” said Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Nigel Dravitzki.

Aspects that will help combat further fire spread include creating extra fire breaks in the northern area of Kaimaumau to stop the expected gale force winds pushing the fire further north. A fire break is a gap created between vegetation to prevent spread. A Department of Conservation, local iwi and key stakeholder approved fire retardant has been dropped viahelicopter to help strengthen the existing fire break and reduce any risk of further fire spread. Fire retardant contains salts which are typically fertilisers that alter the way that wildfires burn, decreasing fire intensity and slowing the advance of the fire, even after the water in the fire has evaporated.

A number of culturally significant sites have been damaged in the fire including historical burial sites and the only freshwater wetland in Te Tai Tokerau that exceeds 1000 hectares.

The environmental and cultural impact on Kaimaumau is very significant with over 11 protected plant and reptile species currently at risk.

Cyclone Cody is expected to reach the north eastern coast of Aotearoa at the end of this week.

Tags: Kaimaumau Fire


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