Navy to help fight Great Barrier fire

MARIKA HILL AND KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 17:29 24/01/2013
Great Barrier fire

ISLAND BLAZE: A Civil Defence map shows the area hit by fire on Great Barrier Island.

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The Navy is joining ongoing fire-fighting efforts at Great Barrier Island following requests for help from the Department of Conservation.

Flames and smoke can be seen on the island as around 45 firefighters work to contain the blaze which has been burning for more than two days now. 

Progress had been made in putting the fire out but high temperatures today had caused a flare up.

Offshore Navy Patrol Vessel HMNZS OTAGO will tonight transfer almost five tonnes of firefighting equipment and relief supplies from the Devonport Naval Base to Great Barrier Island. 

Fire retardant chemicals and other associated equipment as-well-as food and water will arrive in the Whangaparapara Harbour on Friday morning.  

The vessel, which had been at sea conducting training, was rapidly redeployed to help at the request of the Department of Conservation. 

An Auckland Council spokesman said no properties were under threat.

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

The fire has burned more than 115 hectares near the settlement of Claris.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Bryan Cartelle yesterday said good progress had been made and containment of 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," he said

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