15 Sep 2009

Warm winds fuel South Island fires

6:29 pm on 15 September 2009

Fire crews have been battling more than 10 fires in South Canterbury and several more in Otago as unseasonably warm winds fanned flames.

Helicopters were used at one of the largest blazes, at a five-hectare forestry block near Waimate, while north-westerly winds also fanned more than 10 smaller fires.

South Canterbury Principal Rural Fire Officer Rob Hands says the wind may have reignited embers from controlled burn offs that were lit weeks ago.

Mr Hands says all of the fires in South Canterbury have been contained.

Meanwhile, a fire which has burned for more than a day in a six-hectare forestry block at Berwick, south of Dunedin, was put out on Tuesday.

The fire began early on Monday and was fanned by unseasonably warm north-westerly winds.

Fire investigators have yet to determine what caused the blaze.