22 Jan 2019

Cattle rescued as fire engulfs dairy sheds near Balclutha

5:53 pm on 22 January 2019

A large fire in Otago, which trapped cattle in burning dairy sheds, has been contained.

no caption

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Emergency services were called to the blaze among tree debris in a paddock in Pukeawa at about 12.30pm.

Fire and Emergency said that the flames spread quickly because of the gale-force winds.

But Balclutha fire chief Jason Lyall said two helicopters were helping contain the fires.

"It is contained, very much contained. So we're very much downscaling.

"The ground crew will go along and do the hot spots later on."

Three milking sheds were destroyed but a milking platform had been saved.

Fire and Emergency said that some cattle were initially trapped in the sheds, but they have now been shifted safely to a nearby paddock.

It said that the fire was contained and 17 crew, including firefighters from Gore and Dunedin, were either at the scene or en route.

Federated Farmers Otago President Simon Davies said the weather was hot and extremely windy.

"We've got a lot of what we call 'top' so that's the dried-off seed headed grass and it would be relatively easy for a fire to get carried a reasonably long distance in a very short period of time.

"Not good fire conditions at all down here," he said.