Basin Reserve cricket coverage alerts fire service to blaze in Wellington
Thousands of test cricket enthusiasts witnessed a large fire in the capital, providing a brief distraction as New Zealand fights their way back into the game.
The blaze on the slopes of Wellington's Mt Victoria was thought to have been deliberately-lit, said Murray Dunbar of Fire Central Communications.
The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon and the Fire Service received multiple 111 calls to the fire above the Ellice St quarry.
This included a few from people at the nearby Basin Reserve, where New Zealand is playing Australia in a test cricket match.
The blaze and smoke was clearly visible, even eliciting a reaction from commentator.
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"Firewatch, still looks like it's thriving," commentator Grant Nisbett added in the 23rd over on New Zealand's second innings.
Two overs later, Nisbitt assured people the camera lens made the fire appear closer than reality.
"I suppose the good people of Christchurch are sitting there after a nasty shake a few hours ago and thinking, what a silly little fire."
Senior station officer Paul Lyall said television cameras from the cricket picked up on the fire and the service was soon receiving multiple 111 calls.
When crews arrived there were flames up the cliff of a former quarry at the top of Ellice St, Mt Victoria.
The fire was soon brought under control but the cause was not yet known.
Wellington's recent spate of warm, dry weather mixed with today's light breeze made for ideal fire conditions, Lyall said.
In November, police investigated after two fires on Mt Victoria were thought to have been deliberately lit.
A firefighter at the time said piles of kindling were set up in the Town Belt before the fire was started.
However, Central Fire Communications shift manager Jan Wills said there was no confirmed link between those fires and Sunday's blaze.
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- The Dominion Post