Fire risk in region in Masterton rising

Updated : 2020-10-23Source : times-age
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Extreme fire risk has increased in Masterton due to climate change, an environment ministry report shows. Masterton has gained an extra week of warm days each year due to climate change from 1972 to 2019.

The Ministry for the Environment made public a climate report this week detailing knowledge and projections about climate change both on a local and international level. For Masterton, this means hotter and drier weather and increased fire risk. Heatwave days have increased by 3.2 days a decade in Masterton, the report found. Masterton had an “increasing trend in days with very high or extreme fire danger from 1997 to 2019”.

New Zealand’s average annual temperature rose by 1.13 degrees Celsius from 1909 to 2019. One of the fastest increases in annual average maximum temperature happened in Masterton.

Fire risk management for Masterton

Wairarapa principal rural fire officer Phil Wishnowsky said the region had the “fourth most severe fire weather in the country” and a “higher risk for vegetation wildfire”. The Wairarapa region was put at further fire risk due to climate change, and Wishnowsky said people should prepare. He wanted the Wairarapa community to engage in risk reduction – this included learning how to be safe and responsible with fire.

“Education proves more effective over time as people become more aware of the effects of climate change.“Our focus needs to be to make sure we don’t have even more larger scale incidents. Fire Services are constantly upskilling and developing their knowledge with the implications of climate change in mind, he said.

Climate change facts:

Half of all human-generated carbon dioxide emissions since 1750 have happened since 1970. Humans added about 42 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2018, more than 190 times the weight of every person in the world combined. From 2007 to 2018, an average of 90 per cent of direct household emissions came from transport.