Strong winds fan fire

Extremely strong winds fanned a controlled burn on Lake Ohau Station on Saturday, carrying ash and sparks about 500m away.

About 20 volunteer firefighters from Twizel and Omarama, the high country fire unit and Department of Conservation staff were called to the blaze in the controlled burn-off of gorse about 4pm.

Waitaki District Council rural fire officer Lex Perriman said the fire, on the side face, west of Lake Ohau homestead, was only in about 4ha to 5ha, but winds of 120kmh to 130kmh and higher made the situation very difficult.

"The wind was carrying ash and sparks 500m. It was a concern."

The fire was contained by about 6pm, but the farmer and a rural fire volunteer stayed on to monitor the situation.

Volunteers were again called in about 2am but were stood down as there was not much they could do in the dark with those conditions, he said.

The fire was contained by yesterday, but hot spots were expected to continue to burn for a day or two, Mr Perriman said.

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

 

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