9 Dec 2023

Strong winds fan vegetation fires throughout the South Island

8:52 pm on 9 December 2023
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(File photo) Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

People who have lit outdoor fires in the past few days are being urged to check they are fully extinguished, with strong winds in the lower half of the South Island fanning at least two vegetation fires back to life.

Fire crews from throughout Central Otago and the crews of three helicopters with monsoon buckets had contained a fire in Central Otago by 8:30pm on Saturday, while working in strong winds.

Fire and Emergency (FENZ) said the blaze on a steep hillside near the Clyde Dam started just about 4.20pm in Fruitgrowers Road near Alexandra.

And it was believed to have reignited from an earlier fire started by fireworks on Friday night.

Police evacuated people from a nearby freedom camping area.

FENZ incident controller Bobby Lamont said local volunteer firefighters and the helicopter pilots had done a tremendous job in very challenging conditions.

Selwyn District and Southland fires

In Southland, crews from six brigades and a digger were working to contain a fire at a forestry block in Glenham on Saturday - also thought to have reignited from an earlier fire.

Meanwhile, at Templeton in Canterbury's Selwyn District, a fire that was burning in a stand of trees about 100 metres long had been contained.

Anyone considering lighting a fire outdoors was asked to check online to see if any restrictions are in place.

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