Four helicopters needed to battle uncontrolled burn off

Four helicopters helped fight a large vegetation fire inland from Palmerston in East Otago yesterday.

Fire crews were called to the the blaze at 3.19pm. By 5pm it had grown to 4ha.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said the fire was believed to be the result of a burn off that quickly spread and became out of control at a rural property in Dunrobin Rd, near the intersection with McDonald Rd off State Highway 85, about 19km northwest of Palmerston.

Pine trees, grass and gorse were well ablaze and at least one building was under threat late in the afternoon, but was doused with water from the air to protect it, as was the area around it.

A ‘‘very light breeze’’ helped fan the flames, he said.

Crews with a pump and tanker from the Palmerston Volunteer Fire Brigade attended the scene initially, but quickly called for another tanker and a helicopter.

A further tanker was also requested, along with three more helicopters about 90 minutes after the fire was first reported. The fire was contained by 6.30pm but crews remained at the scene overnight as a precaution.

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