Close eye kept on fire site near Clyde Dam

The fire on Fruitgrowers Rd near Clyde Dam. Photo: Murray Stirling via Facebook
The fire on Fruitgrowers Rd near Clyde Dam. Photo: Murray Stirling via Facebook
Crews will be monitoring the site of a big vegetation fire in Central Otago after strong winds fanned it back to life.

Multiple crews from throughout the district as well as Dunedin and Queenstown, and three helicopters, were called to a fire burning on a steep hillside above Lake Dunstan on Saturday. 

Fire and Emergency NZ incident controller Bobby Lamont said firefighters from local volunteer brigades and the helicopter pilots had done a tremendous job in challenging circumstances to limit the fire to three hectares.

Volunteer firefighters from Clyde, Alexandra, Tarras, Dunstan and Luggate, as well as career fighters and staff from Dunedin and Queenstown attended. 

The fire in Fruitgrowers Rd, a short distance from Clyde Dam, had reignited about 4.20pm from an earlier fire started by fireworks on Friday night.

Smoke had blown over both Clyde and Alexandra but had dispersed.

"The winds in the area have been horrific - thankfully the face where the fire is burning is slightly sheltered, and we slammed extra resources onto it to make sure it didn’t impact the transmission lines from the dam," Mr Lamont said.

A crew remained at the scene overnight and some rain had helped to dampen hotspots down. 

Though the fire was now out, a Fenz spokesman said on Sunday the site would be monitored throughout the day. 

Central Otago is in a restricted fire season due to dry conditions and elevated fire danger, as is the Lakes District and Upper Waitaki.

Mr Lamont urged people to think twice about letting off fireworks in windy conditions, and to be aware that it only took one spark to cause a wildfire.

It was also reminder for people who have lit outdoor fires in the past few days to check they are fully extinguished. 

MetService advised there were no strong wind warnings for the lower South Island on Sunday. 

Elsewhere, crews were called to fires at Templeton in the Selwyn District and at Glenham in Southland on Saturday. 

At Glenham, crews worked on hotspots in a three-hectare forestry block. One crew and a tanker stayed overnight but the fire was now out. 

At Templeton, the fire in a shelter belt was brought under control early on Saturday evening and a crew remained at the scene overnight.