2 Nov 2018

Crews douse large bush fire threatening Hawea homes

8:55 pm on 2 November 2018

By David Loughrey for the Otago Daily Times

A fire by Lake Hawea appears to be under control after four helicopters with monsoon buckets attacked the blaze.

Four helicopters used monsoon buckets to fight the blaze.

Four helicopters used monsoon buckets to fight the blaze. Photo: ODT / Andy Cole

The fire had been burning uncontained near six houses as Fire and Emergency New Zealand units and helicopters converged on the scene.

A Fire and Emergency spokesman said a call was received at 5.20pm about the fire.

''The fire's burning up a hillside uncontained at this stage.''

The Otago Daily Times reported that there were four fire engines at the scene, and another four on their way.

One helicopter was battling the blaze, and four were on their way.

Houses were threatened by the fire, but it was understood they had been evacuated.

''Crews are working to protect those properties where possible.''

An employee of the Lake Hawea Hotel said the fire appeared to have started by the roadside near Capell Ave, the turn-off into Lake Hawea by State Highway 6.

''With the wind, it's just gathered speed.''

There were individual trees with rings of fire around them, and the houses were possibly in danger.

''I would definitely say that,'' she said.

The fire could be seen from the hotel.

The road was closed, and the fire was moving up the hill.

''The smoke's gone from white to black.

''It's just gathering momentum.''

It is not yet under control.

The NZ Transport Agency said SH6 has been closed at the intersection with Capell Ave as firefighters tackle the blaze and it advised motorists to avoid the area.

This story was first published in the Otago Daily Times.