Fire in Waihopai Valley

Controlled burn spread to 20 hectares

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 17:00 23/11/2012
Fire in Waihopai Valley
Anna Williams

Fire in the Waihopai valley

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Two helicopters and five fire appliances battled a blaze in the Waihopai Valley near Blenheim today that started off as a controlled burn and spread to about 20 hectares.
Renwick deputy chief fire officer Alan Johnson said the fire got out of control on bare land on a vineyard about 1pm. 
Two appliances from Renwick volunteer fire force and two Blenheim volunteer rural fire tankers arrived at the scene about 1.30pm, going through a property on Cowslip Valley Rd, off Tyntesfield Rd.
A third rural tanker arrived just after 3pm. 
It was believed the landowner had a permit from the Marlborough District Council for a controlled burn, Mr Johnson said. 
The grass was reasonably dry, and the fire was fanned by the wind, he said. 
Firefighters with the help of the helicopters had managed to contain the blaze just before 3pm.
Renwick senior station officer Grant Flynn said the fire had not spread outside the property.
''It hasn't left his property, but when it gets that big, we don't muck around,'' Mr Flynn said.
Two crews made up of five men each worked on the ground level to dampen down the edges after the helicopters' had been through, he said. Marlborough chief rural fire officer Richard McNamara confirmed the fire was an out of control burnoff. 
Up to 20 firefighters remained at the scene at 4.30pm. Firefighters from the rural fire authority would continue working until midnight and would return tomorrow morning to ensure the fire was completely out and to mop up the mess, Mr McNamara said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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