High winds created problems for firefighters called to a fire
on a farm between Luggate and Tarras yesterday morning.
A fire in piles of rubbish from a cleared pine forest spread
rapidly across a large paddock, fanned by wind gusts of
between 45kmh and 63kmh.
The wind, combined with a 21degC air temperature and a low
34% humidity level, meant firefighters were unable to prevent
the fire from spreading into part of a pine plantation on the
terrace above the paddock.
At the height of the fire, about a dozen fire appliances and
tankers from the Luggate, Tarras, Wanaka and Cromwell
volunteer fire brigades and the Tarras and Dunstan rural fire
Two helicopters carrying monsoon buckets were also called in
to dampen down the blaze.
Central Otago principal rural fire officer Owen Burgess, of
Alexandra, told the Otago Daily Times the cause of the fire
was not known but would be investigated.
He said people should not be burning under the present
weather conditions and noted the strong winds had been
"You would be a fool [to burn] in this weather," he said.
The pine tree branches which went on fire yesterday have been
heaped up into dozens of piles on the Jolly Rd property over
the last few months.
Farm owner Denis Nyhon was too busy to talk when contacted by
the ODT yesterday.
• A dead poplar tree on Faulks Rd, Wanaka, was blown over in
high winds yesterday morning.
Queenstown Lakes District Council transport services engineer
David Knowles said the tree was only partly on the road and
was cleared away by council contractors within about 20