top of page

SESSION THEME | Visions - Climate change


Planning for Wild Fire

Thursday 2 April,  

The Pigeon Valley Fire in February 2019 was NZ's largest forest fire. It covered over 2340 ha of production forest, farms, and lifestyle blocks, had a perimeter of 35km, damaged over 50 properties, and involved the evacuation of 3500 residents for several days. 

The emergency response lasted for three weeks.  During the event, activities with potentially significant environmental impacts were being undertaken. These included extensive earthworks as 60m wide fire breaks were created around the permieter of the fire; vast areas of ash and sediment became potentially mobilised in the headwaters of catchments; and water abstraction for firefighting from rivers and dams exacerbated impacts from the severe drought Tasman was experiencing.

Were there planning factors that helped or hindered the fire and emergency response? Local planners involved in the response reflect on planning provisions for managing wild fire risks, and whether these approaches were adequate or appropriate in the context of the Pigeon Valley fire.  We draw on key messages about fire science and explore how planning may need to evolve as wild fire risks increase with climate change.


Presenters:  Maxine Day & Diana Worthy

Team Leader - Urban and Rural Development Policy, Tasman District Council

Maxine Day is a planner with nearly 20 years experience working in local government and consultancies across a broad range of issues. She is currently reviewing the Tasman Resource Management Plan at Tasman District Council.

In February 2019 she got called upon to assist the Planning and Intelligence functions of the local CDEM office during the Pigeon Valley Fire. After the event she looked at wild fire risks and how emergency response links to RMA planning.

Policy Planner - Natural Resources, Tasman District Council

Diana Worthy is a planner with 15 years experience, having worked in both the New Zealand and Scottish planning systems on a range of topics. She is currently working on the review of the Tasman Resource Management Plan and is responsible for air quality and natural hazards. 

bottom of page