Queenstown residents living in high fire risk areas will benefit from an exercise being carried out in the town between 25-27 October.
The exercise is being organised by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and will involve personnel from the Police, Fire Service, and QLDC. It will be led by the NZ Rural Fire Authorities’ National Incident Management Team.
The exercise will involve a scenario within the strip of urban and rural land between Bobs Cove and Arthurs Point, known by local fire agencies as the Red Zone. This forested strip contains housing developments and presents a very real risk to Queenstown residents.
The exercise will begin with the evacuation of residents in the Alpine Retreat development near Moke Lake on the evening of Tuesday 25 October. This will test the first phase of the Red Zone response during high fire danger periods, which is to evacuate residents rather than fight the fire itself.
Over the following two days, the National Incident Management Team will run an extended multi-agency exercise based at DOC’s Wakatipu office in Arthurs Point, involving 40 fire incident management personnel from DOC, QLDC, CODC, DCC, CDC, Wenita Forest Products, Police and the New Zealand Fire Service.
DOC Wakatipu Rural Fire Officer, Jamie Cowan says “evacuation of residents is a key part of our response to fire in Queenstown. This exercise will be a great test to see if the evacuation network provided by local residents works, as well as being a test of our rural fire fighting organisation and resources”.