$300k to fight huge hill fire

The Rat Point fire in January. Photo supplied
The Rat Point fire in January. Photo supplied
January's widespread blaze at Rat Point on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd cost $300,000 to put out.

The Otago Rural Fire Authority has lodged a claim with its national counterpart to cover the cost of fighting the 150ha blaze.

The fire began late on January 10.

Investigations determined it was started by a campfire on the beach below Rat Point.

The fire was first spotted by a farmer on the other side of Lake Wakatipu, but it quickly jumped the road before ravaging the face of Jesse Peak, burning through steep scrub-land.

At its peak, the blaze was fought by eight helicopters with monsoon buckets and 50 firefighters from across the region.

Flames destroyed six power poles, which cut electricity to Glenorchy and surrounds for almost 24 hours, and closed the road between Glenorchy and Queenstown for about 15 hours.

Yesterday Otago Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Phil Marsh said a claim to recover the costs of fighting the fire, which was monitored for four days, had been accepted by the National Rural Fire Authority.

‘‘I can tell you, in general terms, the fire itself cost over $300,000 . . . over $200,000 of that would be helicopter use.’’

Despite repeated pleas in the media, the ORFA never heard from a couple in their mid-20s, in a dark-coloured, older-model station wagon, seen leaving the scene just before the fire started. 

Add a Comment