17 Jan 2015

Community rallies to fight fire

4:14 pm on 17 January 2015

About 80 Hawea Flat residents helped firefighters bring a large grass fire under control yesterday.

The fire near Wanaka destroyed a crib, a caravan, several trailers and trampolines and threatened five homes, three of which were scorched.

A local volunteer firefighter, Brent Arthur, said it started when a weedeater with a metal blade hit a rock.

Residents closed off an irrigation race to create a water source and formed a chain, using buckets to douse the fire, before 40 firefighters from five volunteer brigades arrived.

Two helicopters with monsoon buckets were also used.

An area 700 metres long and 100 metres wide was burnt.

Mr Arthur said the conditions were among the driest he had seen during his decade as a firefighter.