Fires keep Otago crews busy

Firefighters around Otago have had a busy start to the new year, battling blazes at a number of locations overnight.

Radio NZ reports vegetation fires at Galloway near Alexandra, Cromwell, the mouth of the Waitaki River in North Otago and on Mt Iron in Wanaka.

The most significant blaze was the Galloway fire, which was attended by 12 appliances, and crews were still at the scene this morning. One person reportedly sustained facial burns.

The Wanaka fire started about 1am in manuka or kanuka scrub on or next to the Hidden Hills subdivision. A big turn-out of fire fighters brought it under control in just over an hour.

Three houses were destroyed by fires in other areas of the South Island - two in Christchurch, and one in Invercargill where one person suffered smoke inhalation.

The Fire Service says there were multiple other vegetation fires mainly caused from bonfires and fireworks, due to the dry weather and strong winds.