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Firefighters remain at the scene of three South Island vegetation fires – FENZ

Fire crews and three helicopters have contained a fire burning on a steep hillside above Lake Dunstan in Central Otago and will continue working in strong winds to secure the perimeter until dark.

Fire and Emergency Incident Controller Bobby Lamont said the firefighters from local volunteer brigades and the helicopter pilots had done a tremendous job in very challenging conditions to limit the fire to three hectares.

The fire had reignited about 4.20pm from an earlier fire started by fireworks last night.

Bobby Lamont said a crew would remain at the scene overnight and further ground crews would be back in the morning.

The fire on Fruitgrowers Road was a short distance from the Clyde Dam, and smoke had blown over both Clyde and Alexandra towships, but has now 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,” he said.

Central Otago is already in a restricted fire season due to the dry conditions and elevated fire danger, as is the Lakes District and Upper Waitaki. Mr Lamont is urging people to think twice about letting off fireworks in windy conditions, and be aware that it only takes one spark to cause a wildfire.

Elsewhere in the South Island, firefighters are continuing to work on fires at Templeton in the Selwyn District and Glenham in Southland.

At Templeton, the fire in a shelter belt was brought under control earlier this evening and a crew will remain at the scene overnight.

And at Glenham, crews are still working on hotspots in the three hectare forestry block. One crew and a tanker will stay at the scene overnight, and more will return to continue extinguishing the fire tomorrow.

Fire and Emergency is asking anyone who has lit outdoor fires in recent days to return and check that they are completely out, as strong winds can fan old fires back into life. Anyone considering lighting a fire outdoors needs to go to www.checkitsalright.nz to see whether there are any restrictions in place, and to get advice that will limit the risk of their fire escaping.


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