1500ha scrub, forest burnt

Helicopters with monsoon buckets join the fight to extinguish a scrub fire near Hyde on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Helicopters with monsoon buckets join the fight to extinguish a scrub fire near Hyde on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A fire which threatened a home and destroyed 1500ha of mainly scrub, tussock and forestry near Hyde over the weekend, was started by a controlled burn.

The Fire Service was called to a rural property near Hyde at 6pm on Friday, after a fire had threatened a home and the nearby Blakely Pacific's forest plantation.

Graeme Still
Graeme Still
Dunedin City Council principal rural fire officer Graeme Still said at its peak, the large blaze was battled by about 40 rural firefighters, staff from the forestry company and six helicopters, equipped with monsoon buckets.

One homeowner was asked to "sleep somewhere else", after fire threatened their property on Friday night, Mr Still said.

He confirmed the fire was started by a controlled burn, and that could form the subject of an investigation later.

Mr Still estimated the affected area to be about 1500ha of mainly tussock and scrub, with up to 50ha of a private forestry block and 25ha of the Blakely's block destroyed in the blaze.

The area presented few difficulties for firefighters as it "was relatively straightforward". The fire was brought under control by Saturday afternoon.

Mr Still said firefighters were expected to remain at the scene for the next few days tending to hotspots and ensuring the fire did not reignite.

"We are just digging down all the hotspots, and will be here for a few more days."

He praised local farmers for their assistance during the incident.

-hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

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