Fire crews in the South Island kept busy

Fire crews in the South Island have been kept busy overnight, responding to a scrub fire in the hills of West Otago and Roxburgh and a suspicious blaze in Christchurch's Red Zone.

Southern Fire Communications shift manager Andrew Norris said the scrub fire was burning through 1ha of a forestry block in Tapanui, .

It was under control but expected to take two days to put out.

"We've haven't got a lot of ground crews there, it's all being done by helicopters, so there's a couple of helicopters and about a dozen ground crews on site.

"That's burning in the Blue Mountains."

The fire started in the early hours of this morning, but due to its remote location, crews were only able to access it at first light, Mr Norris said.

"It was well up on the hills."

Crews were called to the Red Zone fire, in the suburb of Brooklands on Christchurch's northern side, around 9pm last night.

"We had units from Brooklands, Kaiapoi and St Albans station attend," he said.

The fire told hold of a large shelter-belt hedge at a two-storey property and was being treated as suspicious, Mr Norris said.

"That was all contained and extinguished last night and they were there for about two-and-a-half hours."

Police and Fire Service investigators would be looking into the cause of the blaze today, he said.

Last evening three helicopters with monsoon buckets and fire appliances from Roxburgh, MillersFlat and the Rural Fire Brigade, were battling a large scrub fire east of Roxburgh. 

Emergency services were alerted at 7.20pm. The fire, near Wright Rd, at its peak covered about 500sq m. 

A fire spokesman said it was not yet clear what caused the fire. 

By Brendan Manning of NZME. News Service and Otago Daily Times.

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