20 Oct 2017

New Caledonia fire destroys vegetation, closes highway

12:21 pm on 20 October 2017

A fire in New Caledonia has destroyed about a dozen square kilometres of vegetation north of Noumea.

The blaze prompted the authorities to close the main highway for several hours north near Paita and Tontouta.

The fire also restricted access to the international airport at Tontouta, prompting the rescheduling of an Australia-bound flight.

For safety reasons, power was cut to several neighbourhoods in the area.

The fire was reported to have overwhelmed a farm and killed dozens of animals.

50 firefighters and helicopters were deployed the battle the blaze which broke out amid a prolonged period of drought.

Much of the main island has been on heightened alert.