Severe Weather Update

Fire and Emergency New Zealand responded to multiple weather related incidents throughout the country ranging from flooding to lifted roofs and spot fires caused by downed power lines.

In total crews responded to over 228 weather-related incidents throughout the country today, 210 of which were in the South Island, and included fallen trees on houses, cars and roads causing closures or power outages.

Fire and Emergency also attended over 260 other incidents, including structure and vegetation fires, medical emergencies, and motor vehicle accidents. Crews assisted Police and Civil Defence with evacuations in areas with significant flooding such as New Plymouth, Nelson, Greymouth, as well as Buller and Dunedin where states of emergency have been declared.

Canterbury fires

At 1500 today, Fire and Emergency crews responded to vegetation fire in West Melton in Canterbury that burnt 10 hectares and required the precautionary evacuation of 10 houses, with five helicopters and 16 appliances on scene.

As of 1915 hours the fire had been contained with no damage to structures reported. Fire crews and helicopters remain active at the West Melton site with 40 firefighters and two helicopters there currently.

The welfare centre at West Melton Community Centre has now been closed, but can be reactivated if needed. Those who were evacuated are now able to return to their homes, but should remain on alert overnight in case of any flare ups.

15 firefighters will remain to patrol the area overnight, along with police and security guards.

The wind has now changed to the southwest. Fire and Emergency New Zealand has advised households north of Halketts Road to be prepared to evacuate if required.

Five appliances and two helicopters also contained a fire in a pine tree plantation 500 metres above Governors Bay Rd, near Cass Bay this afternoon. As of 1750 hours the fire had been successfully contained and controlled.

Several smaller fires have also been contained in the Selwyn area this afternoon, after being caused by falling power lines in hot, dry and windy conditions.