Tapora fire still raging on

Helicopters brought in to battle scrub blaze

Last updated 09:07 21/02/2013

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Three helicopters and crews of firefighters are battling a fast-spreading 65 hectare scrub fire near Tapora, 30 minutes west of Wellsford.

The fire, which started at 11pm last night, is believed to be on Department of Conservation land to the right of Okahukura Rd.

Ground crews are working with heavy machinery at the northern end of the blaze in an effort to create a fire break while helicopters are dumping water at the southern flank.

''The fire is burning in 2m high gorse and pampas grass, scrub and trees. It grew from a 200m by 50m piece of land at a rate of 150m an hour,'' Fire Service Northern Communications Centre manager Jaron Phillips said.

''There are still reasonably light winds there with two helicopters in operation. The fire is still not under control.

''Ground crews have been rotated with both rural fire volunteers and staff working together. There is anywhere between 10 and 13 crew on at any one time.''

Currently there are no reported injuries and no homes are under threat.

Fire investigators hope to determine the cause of the fire after it has been brought under control.

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