Fire presents a hazard when it is uncontrolled and threatens lives, properties or areas with important natural or cultural significance.
Fires are most commonly caused by human activity. They can be deliberately lit by arson, or accidentally lit, for example by sparks from a train, a cigarette butt or the unexpected spread of a controlled fire. Fires can also be caused by natural events, such as a lightning strike. The spread of a fire depends on available material to burn, weather conditions (particularly wind speed and direction) and slope angle.
Historical fires in the Wellington region
Fires happen every year in the rural areas around the region. In 2010 a deliberately lit fire near Titahi Bay resulted in 150 people evacuating their homes and over 20 hectares of Whitireia Park reserve being burnt. In 2013 a fire near Owhiro Bay resulted in the evacuation of 30 people, and destruction of 10 acres of bush.
Risk of fire
Areas most at risk in the Wellington region include the southern and western edges of Wellington City, Ngaio and Ngauranga gorges, the eastern hills of the Hutt Valley, hills near Eastbourne and Wainuiomata, and areas along the Wairarapa coast. The risk will vary depending on the weather, for example in times of low rainfall and drought the fire risk will be higher.
Fire Following Earthquake (FFE)
After a large earthquake, there is likely to be damage to buildings and infrastructure. This can mean that there is more opportunity for a fire to start and spread. On rare occasions, a fire which starts following an earthquake can develop into a serious emergency.