Fire season change for Te Tai Tokerau in light of Kaimaumau blaze

By Whatitiri Te Wake

All of the Northland District is moving to a restricted fire season, except for the area north of Awanui to Cape Reinga and the Karikari Peninsula as these places are already restricted all year round. The changes were put in place effective 8am, this morning

Fire and Emergency District Manager, Wipari Henwood says Northland’s dry and windy forecast this summer has increased fire risk.

"We know that there is a higher risk for large, uncontrolled fires to be established in Northland in these conditions. If it’s hot and windy, please don’t light a fire."

Day 26

The vegetation fire in Waiharara in the Far North, which began on December 18, 2021, is still being battled by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ). This will necessitate a large operational response from the Northland District and the rest of the country.

There are 67 firefighters on the ground with two helicopters and heavy machinery. FENZN says the conditions are looking similar to the past few days with light winds, but the fire remains very complex to get under control

FENZ has 25 people managing land operations, air operations, resources and logistics. The team is also focused on gathering intelligence, analysing fire behaviour and predicting forecasts, as well as people liaising with the community and stakeholders to ensure everyone is aware of what is happening.

“Our partner agencies and local iwi are also working very closely with the team,” they said.

The fire has caused damage to 2409 hectares and has a perimeter of 43km, But with a few minor flare-ups overnight, they say are "still dealing with peat fires burning underground on the fire ground”

The fire season changes will mean those wanting to light fires will need a permit to do so.

“For the area north of Awanui to Cape Reinga and the Karikari Peninsula, a prohibited fire season means no open-air fires can be lit within the coverage area, and permits to light fires will not be issued.”