Golfers played on as a large scrub fire raged out of control
behind them yesterday afternoon at Jacks Point, near
A lawnmower is believed to have caused the fire about
11.30am, which spread downhill in scrub, between the Jacks
Point clubhouse and Lake Wakatipu.
Firefighters, including 20 from the Frankton and Queenstown
brigades, and two helicopters with monsoon buckets took about
two hours to bring the blaze under control.
Jacks Point operations and property manager Gary Healey said
the grasslands were ''tinder-box dry'' and yesterday's strong
winds helped fan the large blaze.
''There was a mowing guy working on the hill there and the
mower caught fire,'' Mr Healey said.
Two helicopters dumped water on the blaze for more than an
Mr Healey said the fire did not damage any assets, aside from
the contractor's lawnmower.
Contractors tried to extinguish the fire with equipment in
one of their vehicles at the scene, but the fire quickly got
out of control.
He praised the efforts of the contractors: ''They did a good
Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Andrew Bary
said the fire was about 500m long and 200-300m wide.
By the time fire crews arrived, the fire was ''already
spreading aggressively'' through the scrub in a southerly
direction, away from the clubhouse.
Two helicopters began collecting water from Lake Tewa, near
the clubhouse, ''very early in the piece''.
Golfers continued to play on the course while the fire burned
away from them in the background.
Mr Bary said the fire had not threatened the golf course, but
a house half a kilometre away was in its path.
''It [the fire] never really threatened but we weren't going
to let it get close,'' he said.
At the fire's peak, volunteer fire brigade crews from
Frankton and Queenstown were joined by a ground crew from the
Department of Conservation and two Queenstown Lakes District
Council crews of staff and contractors.
The helicopters involved were from Heliworks and Glacier
Southern Lakes. Jacks Point is a 1200ha settlement on the
shores of Lake Wakatipu, comprising an 18-hole golf course,
clubhouse and a residential development.