Defiant scrub fire ablaze despite efforts

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 19:59 17/01/2014

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A large scrub fire blazing through Department of Conservation land in the northern Coromandel Peninsula this evening defied efforts to bring it under control.

Extremely strong winds and dangerous terrain hampered efforts to get it under control, principal rural fire officer for the Thames Valley Del Read said.

The fire sparked about 2pm and covered close to seven acres off Kennedy Bay Rd at 7pm.

The road was closed and, because the blaze was close to powerlines, power was turned off to the Kennedy Bay settlement as a precaution.

A ground team attacked the fire from the road but helicopters were crucial, Mr Read said.

"It's hopeless just off the road. You couldn't do it.

"It's too dangerous to put guys up in the bush. It's too steep and there's lots of mine shafts and holes in the ground."

DOC took charge of the response with help from the fire service and three helicopters.

It was too early to determine the cause of the fire, Mr Read said, but the nearby power lines could have been a factor.

He urged people to be "very, very careful around anything that may start a fire", including machinery and cigarette butts.

There were two fires in the last three days due to cigarette butts being thrown from cars onto the side of the road.


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- Waikato Times

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