Another suspicious fire in Wenita Forest block

Fire crews were called to another suspicious fire in a Wenita Forest block near Waihola yesterday.

Wenita chief executive Dave Cormack said the forestry company was notified of the blaze about 6.50am.

A helicopter and two fire appliances responded to the call.

The fire started in the top end of Berwick Forest and "was well inside the boundary" in an area of windrows - mounds of logging debris where new trees are planted, Mr Cormack said.

"The trees are about two years old. There is more bare land around each tree. The fire never really took hold."

Wenita planned to have a crew at the site overnight as a precaution. Mr Cormack said the cause did not appear to be arson, but "the Clutha rural fire authority and the police are taking a look."

Dunedin City Council principal rural fire officer Graeme Still spent three hours examining the scene of the fire yesterday and said the fire was suspicious.

"It's in the middle of nowhere, there's been no activity in that area. We can't find a cause for it, because there have been no contractors in the area."

Mr Still said it was unusual for a fire to start "in the middle of nowhere."

The fire burned through three windrows, which were about 10x4m each, Mr Still said.

"We know where it started, which windrow it started in. Now we are eliminating possible causes."

Two suspicious fires in a Wenita Forest block in Kaitangata on February 25 are still under investigation.



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