Chatham Island Fire Update

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Chatham Island Fire Update

“Two helicopters have started working on the fire after arriving on the island earlier today, and are making progress. But this will clearly be a challenging and long operation to contain and then extinguish the fire. The fire has grown in size over the last 24 hours, and we are currently assessing how big it is” says Craig Cottrill, Principal Rural Fire Officer.

We expect the teams who arrived on the island today to be there for up to two weeks. It is likely we will send additional resources, and two crews are on stand-by in Auckland, and are ready to travel to the Chatham’s when required.”

“Cooler temperatures and rain have eased conditions today, and we do not expect to evacuate any residents, even as a precaution, as was done last night.”The area where the fire is burning on private land contains regenerating and establishednative vegetation and it’s too early to assess the impact of the fire on native plants and animals there.

“At this stage the fire has not burnt into any conservation land in the southern area of Chatham Island although this remains a potential risk,” says Department of Conservation Operations Manager Chatham Island Dave Carlton.“The fire does not pose a risk to threatened native species such as the Chatham Island taiko, and is well away from the J M Barker (Hapupu) National Historic Reserve where the Moriori tree carvings, rakau momori, are found.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who has assisted with efforts so far, including our volunteers, the Chatham Islands Council, the Department of Conservation, Air Chathams and local contractors,” said Craig Cottrill.

—ENDS—

For more information contact:

Joss Debreceny | Senior Communications Advisor, Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Email: media@fireandemergency.nz, Mobile: +64 (0)27 591 8837