Strong winds fan fire

Firefighters bring blaze under control

Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014
scrub fire
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE / Fairfax NZ

UNDER CONTROL: Fire crews from across South Canterbury responded to a fire that started when strong winds fanned a controlled burn-off back into life.

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Fire crews from across South Canterbury were dispatched to control a scrub fire in the Mackenzie District as strong winds fanned the flames yesterday afternoon.

Fire crews brought the blaze under control quickly amid fears the winds would cause it to spread.

Fortunately the wind had died down as firefighters arrived and wet conditions meant any fire embers were blown onto wet ground, deputy principal rural fire officer Trevor Sim said.

The main concern was getting the fire under control before dark, he said.

The fire on private property on Monavale Rd, between Cave and Albury, started after 3pm yesterday. It ignited after strong winds picked up a controlled burn-off, Sim said.

A witness at the scene told The Herald he believed the burn-off had taken place about a week ago and had died down. The high winds that hit the Mackenzie District are believed to have reignited the embers.

The fire service sent two pumps, tankers from Cave, Pleasant Point, Fairlie and Washdyke, and a command unit.

Sim said it was not too serious, but cut wood and old man pine lying close to the fire was also a concern.

"Not a lot of damage done, other than firewood lost," he said.

Firefighters were also called to a hedge fire at Morven, and firefighters at Mt Cook village were alerted amid fears lightning strikes could cause a fire.

Metservice meteorologist Liz Walsh said Fairlie had some quite windy conditions yesterday, with gusts of about 90kmh recorded at 3pm.

There was a possibility of strong winds in inland Canterbury last night and they were expected to ease, before picking up again today.

Walsh said today's gusts might reach up to 130kmh.

The strong north-westerly flow would last until Saturday, she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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