Navy helps fight Great Barrier blaze

Last updated 07:13 25/01/2013

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Firefighters battling the blaze on Great Barrier Island will resume their work this morning as the navy arrives to help contain the fire.

Winds are forecast to strengthen later today that could further aggravate the fire which has burned more than 115 hectares near the settlement of Claris.

Forty-five firefighters have been working to contain the blaze which has been burning since Tuesday.

The offshore navy patrol ship Otago will arrive this morning to transfer almost five tonnes of firefighting equipment and relief supplies from the Devonport Naval Base to the island off the coast of Auckland.

The ship, which had been at sea conducting training, was rapidly redeployed to help at the request of the Department of Conservation.

Fire retardant chemicals and other associated equipment as well as food and water will also arrive at Whangaparapara Harbour this morning.

An Auckland Council spokesman said no properties were under threat but about 30 homes had been evacuated as a precaution.

South of Auckland another scrub fire is also spreading in the Hunua Gorge.

Firefighters were called to an area near the quarry at 5.15am with six appliances working to contain the blaze.

Senior fire communicator Tania Matthews said it began as a tree fire and while the it only covered about half an acre this morning there was difficulty in getting to the area.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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