Weather hinders fight against Waitaki blaze

Weather continues to hamper fire crews battling a large forest fire inland from Oamaru today.

Up to 16 crews and eight helicopters have been fighting the fire - on McKenzie Rd in the Livingstone area - after Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) were alerted to the blaze around 3.15am.

Low cloud forced the choppers to be grounded for a time late this morning, and this afternoon Fenz said strong winds were causing "challenging" conditions.

A little after 1.30pm the choppers had resumed the fight from the air. 

A Fenz spokeswoman said it was a large fire in a pine forestry block, and it was being fanned by strong winds.

It was thought several properties had been evacuated. There was no word on property damage.

It is the second large fire in the North Otago/South Canterbury area this morning: a major fire has destroyed homes at Lake Ohau in the Mackenzie Basin.

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