Riverlands fire quickly doused

23:37, Feb 18 2014
Firefighters work to put out a fire in dry grass at an empty site behind Vernon St.

Marlborough's top rural firefighter is warning people to be more careful after three preventable blazes in less than 24 hours.

Fifteen firefighters from the Blenheim Rural Fire Force and the Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade tackled a scrubfire at Riverlands Industrial Estate south of Blenheim about 2pm yesterday.

Marlborough Kaikoura principal rural fire officer Richard McNamara said the fire flared in dry grass at an empty site behind Vernon St.

A helicopter was called in to drop water on the blaze with a monsoon bucket in order to contain the fire quickly, Mr McNamara said.

The fire spread across one hectare before it was contained. A fire investigator was looking into the cause.

Rural firefighters had come directly from another fire at Port Underwood.


A smokehouse the size of a small shed on the back of a farm burnt to the ground after a fire in the shed was left unattended.

Firefighters were called to Port Underwood Rd about 9.15am after flames spread to grass behind the shed, Mr McNamara said.

Picton volunteer firefighters were joined by Rarangi, Koromiko and Blenheim rural fire forces to fight the blaze.

On Monday, a blaze started when hay bales spontaneously combusted about 4pm at a dairy farm north of Kaituna.

The flames threatened to spread to a large forestry block near the farm. Renwick, Blenheim and Linkwater firefighters had the blaze contained by 6pm, Mr McNamara said.

All three fires were most likely preventable, he said. "People need to realise we're in a high fire danger period. Any ignition is going to cause an outbreak."



The Marlborough Express