Fire crews battle hay bale blaze

Firefighters were this morning still battling a large blaze which ripped through hundreds of hay bales and threatened a house near Ashburton overnight.

The line of hay bales, about 450m long and stacked 20 deep, was reported on fire on Le Bretons Rd about 6.10pm yesterday, southern fire communications shift manager Riwai Grace said.

"They're still trying to extinguish the blaze. We've had units come as far away as Christchurch and Timaru," he said.

"They had a couple of worrying periods through the night where they had strong winds come up and they were worried about maybe a house not far from the scene and exposure fires, which is fires starting nearby. Thankfully that didn't happen."

An area of about 400 square metres had caught fire and about 2000 hay bales had been lost.

"So far there's been a lot of hay bales, a shed, truck and trailer unit, a tractor, lots of farm equipment," Mr Grace said.

Fifteen firefighting units including tankers were still on the scene.

The fire was expected to continue burning through the day and relief crews were being organised.

Firefighters would have to pull apart the hay bales to make sure the fire was completely out, Mr Grace said.

"It's just a huge job, very labour intensive ... It's been a very long night for a lot of our crews."

The cause of the blaze was not yet known.


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