From the South Coast to the borders of Porirua and Petone, more than 60 percent of the total area of the city is classified as 'rural'.
This land is often steep and covered in dry grass, gorse, regenerating native bush or pine forest. In the dry months rural land can become tinder dry.
Wellington has two characteristics that fuel big vegetation fires - steep hillsides and strong winds.
Protect your home
Take steps to defend your home and property against wildfires if your home borders land covered in gorse, grass, pine trees or other vegetation.
The best way to protect your home is to 'starve' a vegetation fire as it approaches. So, try to create a 'lean, clean, green' defensible space of up to 20m around your home - removing as much flammable material as possible within that space.
- Lean - minimal amounts of flammable vegetation.
- Clean - no accumulation of dead vegetation or other flammable debris.
- Green - plants are healthy and green during the fire season.
The defensible space will reduce the chance of flames reaching your house and give a safe space for fire fighters.
Fire safety checklist
- Work with your neighbours to remove scrub and keep the neighbourhood clear.
- Mow your lawn.
- Widely space your trees.
- Remove leaf litter and loose bark.
- Stack wood piles and other flammable material away from the house.
- Keep your driveway clear to give fire fighters access to your home.
- Remove dead branches hanging over your roof.
- Clean dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters.
- Enclose the underside of any balconies and decks with fire-resistant materials.
Evacuate your home
You need to evacuate well before the danger becomes close.
On a typical Wellington summer's day, with a wind blowing of 30km/h, a scrub fire can burn at speeds that are alarming - and highly dangerous. Flames can leap roads and travel faster than you can run.
Leave the fire fighting to the trained professionals.
Be ready to evacuate
If you live in a high-risk area, the following tips will help you be ready to evacuate quickly:
- identify at least two suitable exit routes from your neighbourhood
- identify a pre-arranged meeting place for family members
- keep valuable personal documents and mementos within easy reach
- close all doors and windows behind you, but leave them unlocked for fire fighters
- leave a light on in each room
- remove curtains and other combustible materials from around windows
- follow instructions of emergency personnel
- tune into the local radio station.
For more information, refer to: