Multiple fires in the South as gales continue

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Multiple fires in the South as gales continue

Fire crews are responding to multiple fires across Canterbury caused by galeforce winds, after a busy night of call-outs that started about 10pm with fires in Otago.

Overnight, crews from Dunedin and surrounding areas dealt with a fire in forestry on Three Mile Hill on the outskirts of Dunedin, and another at Cape Saunders near Portobello.

Call-outs have moved north from Dunedin to Canterbury as the storm has shifted up the country.

As at 6.30am Fire and Emergency had around 30 crews responding to about 10 wildfires from South Canterbury to Hurunui, Southern Communications Centre Shift Manager Kevin Barbara said. Most are in rural areas. The largest is currently burning in the Glentui area of the Waimakariri District.

The only report of fire damage to structures so far is a hayshed.

Fallen trees and debris blocking roads are making it difficult for firefighters to reach some of the fire sites in rural areas.

Some of the fires are at the sites of previous managed burn-offs and have been reignited by the wind. Others may have been caused by fallen power lines, or lightning strikes.

Fire and Emergency has activated its Canterbury regional coordination centre in monitoring mode, in response to the multiple incidents.

Crews would be returning to the sites of some of the Otago fires at first light to check that they were fully out, Mr Barbara said.