Firefighters deployed to help fight large wild fire in the Chathams

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Firefighters deployed to help fight large wild fire in the Chathams

Fire and Emergency New Zealand is sending 14 personnel to help fight the large wild fire in the Chatham Islands.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Craig Cottrill says two teams of five specialist rural firefighters and four incident management team specialists will fly via charter aircraft at 3pm on Saturday 3 February with fuel, equipment and supplies for a two-week deployment. Two helicopters with monsoon bucket capacity are also set to arrive on the island early tomorrow afternoon.

They will join eight Fire and Emergency volunteers, four Department of Conservation staff, and three local contractors working to contain the fire.

Ground observers estimate the fire to be roughly 2000ha in size. At this stage it is believed to have started to burn into conservation land, however the true extent of the fire will be able to be determined once additional crews are on the ground.

While the fire is currently burning towards the southern coast, a wind change to the north has been forecasted overnight. Accordingly, 19 households along the Waitangi Wharf – Owhenga Road have been evacuated to a welfare centre operated by the Chatham Council Civil Defence as a precaution overnight.

More information will be released when it becomes available.

—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

Images courtesy of NZ Defence Force.