Kaimaumau fire: Residents prepared in case of evacuation

From RNZ

The threatening Kaimaumau fire is forcing residents to keep their belongings packed up, and car keys at hand.

It has torched 2400ha of bush, scrub, wetland and dune vegetation since December 18 but buildings in the seaside village have been spared so far.

Firefighters have been working around-the-clock in hot, dry conditions for weeks and ash has fallen as far as 50km from the fire.

Residents evacuated for a second time on New Year’s Day, after a three-night evacuation just before Christmas.

Villager Bernice Robson still has valuables and essentials ready to go out the door.

“It’s been quite difficult really, because even last night I was awake until about 2am and then all of a sudden I thought: ‘Ooh I can smell smoke’.”

The blaze quickly spread near her home last week during the second evacuation.

“That really freaked me out, I really thought we might have lost our houses then. The neighbour next door said to me: ‘You ought to go down there to the point and have a look at the flames, they’re huge’.”

A mayoral relief fund was established yesterday to support Kaimaumau residents.

The Government announced it will contribute $20,000 towards the fund to support those most affected by the fires.

Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan said although no homes had been destroyed in the fire, the events had significant impacts on local residents.

Allan said affected people may be eligible for additional support through the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry for Primary Industries.

MetService is predicting temperatures peaking in the high 20s for the rest of the week in the Kaitāia area, and southerly breezes until Friday, when afternoon or evening showers are also expected.

Source: Read Full Article