4 Jan 2015

Twizel fire brought under control

10:09 pm on 4 January 2015

A spark from a welding machine is believed to be the cause of a large grass fire which has now been extinguished near Twizel, Mackenzie District Mayor Claire Barlow says.

Three helicopters used monsoon buckets to drop water on the fire, which had been estimated to cover an area of up to three kilometres.

The fire was first reported to the fire service after 5pm this evening, then a sharp wind change at 6pm turned it towards the township.

The rural fire authority said a number of homes were on standby to evacuate but none had been, as the fire was brought under control and later extinguished.

Mackenzie District Mayor Claire Barlow said the authority had told her it already suspects the fire's cause.

"It looks like it started - it was a grass fire of some description which may have been ignited by a spark from a welding unit," she said.

"I have to say this has been the driest summer since I've been in this role. This is a very dry, hot summer. It's like the summers of old but it probably caught people unawares."