Great Barrier blaze: Fire contained by crews

ROB KIDD
Last updated 16:09 23/01/2013
BLAZE ON BARRIER: A massive scrub fire burns in the Kaitoke beach area of Great Barrier Island.
PETRA BAGUST (@petrabagust)/Twitter

BLAZE ON BARRIER: A massive scrub fire burns in the Kaitoke beach area of Great Barrier Island.

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Firefighters have contained the Great Barrier Island scrub fire and are now making fire-breaks to stop it spreading further.


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The fire, which has been burning for more than a day now, has burned more than 115 hectares near the settlement of Claris.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Bryan Cartelle said good progress had been made and containment on the fire's three fronts had "progressed well".
 
"Diggers are now excavating firebreaks. The three helicopters and 40 crew will continue their work until dusk.
 
"Two fresh Department of Conservation fire fighting teams arrive today and additional crews are also on their way from Nelson and Rotorua. They begin work tomorrow morning, relieving today's crews."

Cartelle said crews had put in "a big effort" today.
 
"Currently we are experiencing 20 to 25kmh northeasterly breezes, which should ease to less than 10kmh this evening, which will aid our efforts."
 
About 20 homes on the island were evacuated yesterday when the blaze was only estimated to have covered 20 hectares.

The precautionary evacuations took place around the Claris area, Auckland Council principal rural fire officer Bryan Cartelle said, with several families spending the night at the Okupu sports centre.

Twenty properties in the Okupu Ridge area remained evacuated.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. As yet, no property had been damaged.

Meanwhile, firefighters have been battling two other major blazes in the Auckland and Northland regions.

The biggest was on the Pouto Peninsula near Dargaville.

A fire communications spokeswoman said this morning it had destroyed about 180 hectares of mainly plantation forest.

Four helicopters had been working to contain the blaze on the Pouto Peninsula, while two diggers and two bulldozers created fire breaks. 

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