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The cause of the fire is unknown, but the deputy principal rural fire officer for the Southern Rural Fire District, Elton Smith, said the outcome could have been serious if the blaze had got away and the firefighters did ''pretty well'' to contain it.
Mr Smith said yesterday that while it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire there was some indication there had been a ''human element involved''.
''The fire has not started naturally, but whether that's a deliberately lit fire or whether that's a fire caused by accident ... we still haven't worked that one out''.
Fire crews from Tapanui, Heriot and Gore joined Southern Rural Fire Authority firefighters in responding to the 3.30am call on Wednesday, he said.
After the initial response, ground crews were stood down and two helicopters were used from dawn to about 3pm on Wednesday.
Rural firefighters who remained to fight the fire were pulled out yesterday afternoon.
The fire was mainly held to the ''forestry slash'' harvested area where it started but some planted areas were also affected.