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Fire

What

As our region gets hotter, it will also get drier and windier. This combination means that Canterbury/Waitaha has an increasing risk of wildfire over the next century, and the fire season, which has traditionally been the summer months, could become longer.

New Zealand is already observing some changes in fire weather, and there are differences within our districts in Canterbury/Waitaha.

For example, the Mackenzie district's fire risk is projected to increase by about 10 per cent per decade.

There are four main drivers of wildfire: increased temperature, increased wind, decreased humidity, and decreased rainfall.

Impacts

Wildfires can have devastating effects for people, property, businesses and biodiversity.

The smoke from wildfires can also impact the air we breathe, affecting our health.

Most of New Zealand's native trees have a low resilience to fire, and when vegetation is removed by burning, the risk of erosion increases. Wildfires could significantly change our natural landscape, and damage ecosystems and indigenous species that are susceptible to fire.

Wildfires can damage infrastructure like roads and electricity networks, meaning that in the immediate aftermath, communities could be isolated.