Huge fire burns in Cable Bay

Last updated 08:07 14/02/2013
Ken and Gerrie Young
DROP ZONE: A helicopter with monsoon bucket battles the blaze near Maori Pa Rd.

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Firefighters and helicopters fought a large fire on the Cable Bay Rd on Thursday evening.

The fire was not believed to have threatened houses, but at its peak was burning over an area of 4 to 10 hectares of gorse and grassland.

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Cable Bay resident Simon Fletcher said he and his family left their home when they saw the smoke.

“We got out of there. We were worried enough to leave for our own safety,” he said. The family was watching the fire from Maori Pa Rd, with their neighbour from the Cable Bay village, Nathan Torvik.

Two helicopters fought the blaze with monsoon buckets, using water from the estuary.

Mr Torvik, his partner, and two young children saw the smoke on their way home from town.

Cable Bay Rd was closed to inward traffic at the Maori Pa Rd turnoff, so they were biding their time.

“We can’t really do anything else.”

Web designer Clint Fern saw the blaze from his house on Maori Pa Rd, across the estuary from Cable Bay, about 4pm.

“It was big when I noticed it. There’s a lot of kanuka and gorse around here, so if it [a fire] got going, it would be time to leave,” he said.

“It’s pretty dry. You can’t outrun it, so you have just got to move. They [Cable Bay residents] are doing it tough.”

Cable Bay campground caretaker Tony Smith said the fire was about 1km from the campground and was burning on the uphill side of the road.

Mr Smith said it was fortunate the wind had dropped as the fire had  been burning fiercely at first.

"It was quite outrageous initially when the wind was fanning it and it moved up the hill quite quickly. There are still good flames, but nowhere near what it was."

He was feeling safe at the campground, and some people who lived closer to the blaze had self-evacuated down to the campground area.

"It was fortunate it was up on the hillside and houses haven’t been threatened at this stage."

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- The Nelson Mail


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