Terms of reference confirmed for review into Port Hills fire response

Last updated 17:37 02/05/2017
Christchurch City Council

A flyover of the fire area shows the extent of damage following the Port Hills fire.

The terms of reference have been confirmed for the independent review into fire operations during the Port Hills fires.
The review is sponsored by the the New Zealand Fire Service and the National Rural Fire Authority.
The independent review will be led by Alan Goodwin of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Authorities Council.

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A review into how fire authorities handled Christchurch's Port Hills fire will seek to improve how they respond to future disasters.

The terms of reference and investigation team have been announced for the operational review of the official response to the Port Hills fires. 

Two fires started on February 13 and later merged into one as they damaged 11 houses and burned through 1645 hectares. The fire was officially declared extinguished on April 21 – 66 days after it began.

It was fought by rural fire fighters, full time Fire Service staff and volunteers. 

Christchurch's Port Hills fires not out yet but review on the way
Port Hills fires officially extinguished 66 days after they started 
Port Hills fire recovery plans drafted by May 
An uneasy peace behind the cordons of Christchurch's Port Hills fires 

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said the terms of reference established "core guidelines and principles" about how the independent review would be carried out. 

It aimed to assess the "readiness" of fire agencies when the fire erupted, as well as post-incident management, and would provide recommendations to "enhance the effectiveness and efficiency" in how fire agencies worked. 

The operational review is sponsored by the New Zealand Fire Service and the National Rural Fire Authority. 

Alan Goodwin, of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Authorities Council, has been named as lead reviewer. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry. 

Dunne said having an independent reviewer would "help ensure the findings are objectively assessed".

New Zealand Fire Service national operation efficiency manager Trevor Brown and Auckland Council principal rural fire officer Bryan Cartelle will round out the review team. 

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An initial report on the findings is expected in about two months. It is hoped the findings will be released around October, following a consultation process.

The Christchurch City Council and Selwyn District Council are developing linked but separate fire recovery plans. They are intended to go to their respective councils in late May or early June. 

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. The cost of the firefighting efforts is still unclear, but is expected to be known early this month.

New Zealand's rural and urban fire authorities are due to merge on July 1, and will be renamed Fire and Emergency New Zealand. 

- Stuff


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