Crews abandon fight to save building from Twizel fire

Fire crews have abandoned their fight to save a building and more are at risk as crews continue to fight a fierce, fast-moving fire fanned by strong winds near Twizel in the Mackenzie District this afternoon.

At 11.25am today Fire and Emergency New Zealand received "multiple calls" of a fire off Mt Cook Rd (State Highway 80) off Dusky Trail, a spokesman said.

At 4.30pm. 14 helicopters, two fixed-wing aeroplanes, and 10 appliances on the ground were trying to get the fire under control.

Over the course of the five hours crews have battled the blaze today, the fire had jumped from the west to the east side of a now closed State Highway 80.

The fire was first reported in a grassy area, but strong winds caused the fire to spread to a...
The fire was first reported in a grassy area, but strong winds caused the fire to spread to a forestry plantation. Photo: Graeme Pennell

Police had evacuated properties along the highway.

The fire was first reported in a grassy area, but strong winds caused it to spread "relatively quickly" to a forestry plantation.

A "number" of buildings were still at risk from the fire, but the Fenz spokesman did not have details on the buildings or their locations.

Two people had been injured in the fire, but had been treated at the scene by St John.

Strong winds have been forecast for the region throughout the weekend and into Tuesday.

Multiple crews from Omarama, Otematata, Lake Tekapo, Burkes Pass and a command unit from Timaru were at the scene.

Crews were alerted to the blaze about 11.25am. Photo: Richard Mountain
Crews were alerted to the blaze about 11.25am. Photo: Richard Mountain
The NZ Transport Agency said SH80 remained closed this afternoon from the intersection of SH80 and SH8 at Lake Pukaki,

On Friday, Fenz issued a statement noting recent frost curing [drying], coupled with warm weather and high winds, would result in a high fire danger this weekend for much of neighbouring region Otago.

Principal Rural Fire Office Graeme Still said the predicted strong northwest winds would bring warm, dry conditions, significantly increasing the risk of fires "occurring and spreading rapidly”.

Fires that were normally easy to control would become very difficult during these conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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