New wildfire campaign sends strong message to rural and semi rural dwellers
We’ve launched phase one of our new wildfire campaign focused on readiness, so that rural and semi-rural communities know to prepare in case of a wildfire in their area.
Climate change modelling predicts that New Zealand will become hotter and drier in some areas, creating conditions that increase the frequency and severity of wildfire events.
Fire seasons are also expected to become longer in many areas of the country – starting earlier in spring and extending longer into autumn.
Examples that this may already be happening are the recent major wildfires in Deep Stream near Middlemarch in November 2019, and at Pukaki Downs in August 2020, and Lake Ōhau in October 2020, both in the Mackenzie Basin near Twizel.
More frequent and severe fire danger conditions for New Zealand could lead to the occurrence of a greater number or larger, more extreme wildfires, and to increased risks to people, property and the environment.
About the campaign
We’re encouraging people to take two key actions to help defend their home and property from wildfire. These are:
- Keep your grass short
- Keep gutters and areas around decks clear of dead leaves, debris and pine needles.
The key message of the campaign is, if you’re not ready, the risk is always extreme, and creatively uses a Fire Danger Index sign as the campaign imagery.
The launch of this campaign, coincides with the one-year anniversary of the devastating fire at Lake Ōhau, which became one of the most significant wildfire incidents in New Zealand’s recent history. It continued for nine days and with 5,043 hectares of land burnt and 48 homes and structures in the village destroyed.
The campaign will appear on social media from 4 October 2021, and from mid-October in print, online news sites, radio and online, and will run to the end of November.
This campaign will be supported by phase two, a mass wildfire prevention campaign that will begin in mid-December. From February, we will also encourage people to plant low flammability plants through winter to prepare for the next wildfire season.
What can I do?
This is the first national wildfire readiness campaign of its kind, to support the great work you’re already doing to engage with rural and semi-rural communities to help them prepare their homes and properties.
When you’re out talking to the public, friends and whanau, remember to reinforce our messages, and help share our campaign resources. You can direct people to checkitsalright.nz for more information, and remember, if you’re not ready, the risk is always extreme.
We’ve developed a social media post for you to share, with more resources to come. Check out our resources page on the Risk Reduction bookshelf.