Strong winds reignite bush fire near Queenstown video

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Helicopters dampen down hotspots near Rat Point on the Glenorchy road.

A 150-hectare bush fire near Queenstown was contained on Wednesday night but firefighters would monitor the situation and dampen down any hotspots.

Strong winds reignited the fire on Wednesday afternoon briefly forcing the road to close only 30 minutes after it re-opened.

Six helicopters were back in the air at 4.30pm to fight the rekindled fire on a hillside near Queenstown.

The blaze began about 11.30pm on Tuesday forcing authorities to close the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy until mid-afternoon Wednesday.

It reopened mid-afternoon, closing briefly as the flames reignited, before reopening again about 4.30pm.

Queenstown police believe the fire started at a Rat Point lakeside camping area and have asked anyone in the area on Tuesday evening to contact them.

The fire reached a 100m high ridgeline with fears it could be pushed towards Queenstown by 90kmh winds forecast for Wednesday evening. However, rain was also expected.

At its peak 50 firefighters and seven helicopters were battling the flames and thick smoke.

CAMPGROUND WOKEN BY CHOPPERS

12 Mile Delta campground operator Stuart Rainbow, near Bob's Cove, said he woke at 4am to the sound of helicopters.

RHYS CHAMBERLAIN/Stuff.co.nz

Queenstown Lakes District Council spokeswoman Michele Poole talks about the extent of the blaze.

He was worried when he saw a "hot and heavy red glow" on the western side of the campground

"We are responsible for about 170 campers who stayed here last night. So, you gotta think about them and also my family," Rainbow said.

"If you smell a fire here you sort of jump up – it's a big deal because of the red zone," he added.

A bush fire which began at Rat Peak on the shores of Lake Wakatipu spread rapidly up the hillside to the ridge.
DASHA KUPRIENKO

A bush fire which began at Rat Peak on the shores of Lake Wakatipu spread rapidly up the hillside to the ridge.

A few 12 Mile Delta campers were planning to visit Glenorchy but had to postpone their trip due to road closure.

Rainbow was relieved the fire had been brought under control.

"It seemed really bad at four o'clock this morning but now it seems like nothing really," Stuart said.

The area ravaged by fire on the Glenorchy Rd near Queenstown.
Queenstown Lakes District Counci

The area ravaged by fire on the Glenorchy Rd near Queenstown.

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DAMAGE LIMITED

Otago Rural Fire Authority deputy fire officer Jamie Cowan said about 1km of powerpoles and lines between Queenstown and Glenorchy had been burned.

Helicopters tackle a fire on the Glenorchy Rd near Queenstown.
Queenstown Lakes District Counci

Helicopters tackle a fire on the Glenorchy Rd near Queenstown.

However, the flames did not reach homes at Bob’s Cove and Closeburn Station.

Queenstown Lakes District Council spokeswoman Michele Poole said it could take three to five days to put the fire out completely.

MISSING TRAMPERS FOUND

Emergency services at Bob's Cove dealing with a large scrub fire.
Dasha Kuprienko

Emergency services at Bob's Cove dealing with a large scrub fire.

Three trampers reported missing in the area of the fire were found safe.

It had been thought the trio were in the Mt Crichton/Lake Isobel area near where firefighters were battling the spreading blaze.

However, all three were accounted for.

Helicopters, which are part of the firefighting effort for the scrub blaze near Glenorchy, at Bob's Cove about 12.30pm ...
Dasha Kuprienko

Helicopters, which are part of the firefighting effort for the scrub blaze near Glenorchy, at Bob's Cove about 12.30pm on Wednesday.

POWER OUT TO GLENORCHY

The fire cut electricity to the small settlement of Glenorchy.

Glenorchy Community Association secretary Ingrid Temple said it had been a long night for the township.

Helicopters, which are part of the firefighting effort for the scrub blaze near Glenorchy, leaving Bob's Cove about ...
Ailsa Cain

Helicopters, which are part of the firefighting effort for the scrub blaze near Glenorchy, leaving Bob's Cove about 6.30am on Wednesday.

No power in Glenorchy and the road closure was making business challenging, she said.

"It's a matter of juggling all the people that come off track today. So trying to sort out their transport requirements."

However, the township was used to working remotely and power failures were common, Temple said. "We don't anticipate it's going to be a quick solution so we're just going to to the best we can in those circumstances. We just have to roll with it."

The road between Queenstown and Glenorchy has been closed due to a large scrub fire.
DASHA KUPRIENKO

The road between Queenstown and Glenorchy has been closed due to a large scrub fire.

GENERATORS RUNNING AT CAMPSITE

Mrs Woolly's Campground and general store owner Steve Hewland said campers did not seem too worried.

"We didn't even know [about the fire] until this morning when we started getting all the text messages."

Helicopter crews have joined 50 firefighters battling the blaze, which cut off power to Glenorchy and closed Glenorchy Rd.
Queenstown Lakes District Counci

Helicopter crews have joined 50 firefighters battling the blaze, which cut off power to Glenorchy and closed Glenorchy Rd.

Hewland said with generators working, he was trying to run the business "as usual" today.

Glenorchy Rd was closed from Bob's Point to Mt Creighton, with about 50 firefighters from around the region battling the ...
Queenstown Lakes District Counci

Glenorchy Rd was closed from Bob's Point to Mt Creighton, with about 50 firefighters from around the region battling the blaze from the north and east.

A large scrub fire is burning across about 50ha of land on Jessie Peak above Rat Point on the Glenorchy Road between ...
Queenstown Lakes District Counci

A large scrub fire is burning across about 50ha of land on Jessie Peak above Rat Point on the Glenorchy Road between Queenstown and Glenorchy.

No evacuations were required but residents of Bob's Cove and Closeburn Station had been alerted about the fire.
Queenstown Lakes District Counci

No evacuations were required but residents of Bob's Cove and Closeburn Station had been alerted about the fire.

Mrs Woolly's Campground is using a generator to power the site.

Mrs Woolly's Campground is using a generator to power the site.

 - Stuff

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