Large wild fire in Chatham Islands

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Large wild fire in Chatham Islands

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has been fighting a significant fire in a remote part of the Chatham Islands since early yesterday.

The fire is south of Waitangi Wharf - Owenga Road.

The fire does not currently pose a risk to people or structures, but has burnt through more than 1500 hectares and is threatening conservation land.

"The very remote location means the fire is difficult to access," says Craig Cottrill, Principal Rural Fire Officer.

"Because of this, and dry and windy conditions, our focus until now has been precautionary work around structures, cutting firebreaks in case of a wind shift. We have had eight Fire and Emergency volunteers and four Department of Conservation staff working, as well as three local contractors."

"Now we are moving to actively fight the fire. More firefighters and supplies are being sent to the Chathams to assist. A helicopter with long range tanks will arrive on the island tomorrow, as will an Incident Management Team that will ensure the right resources are being mobilised."

"The New Zealand Defence Force has this morning sent a C-130 Hercules aircraft to conduct an aerial survey to help Fire and Emergency New Zealand determine the scale and spread of the blaze."

A chartered Air Chathams plane will fly firefighters and additional fuel to the island tomorrow.

Fire and Emergency and the Department of Conservation are in the process of assessing the potential risk to conservation areas. More information with be released when it becomes available.

The fire is burning in the location of Latitude -44.002509 Longitude -175.493895

 

--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