Waitaki App

Fire keeps residents away from home for second night

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

11 March 2024, 8:26 PM

Fire keeps residents away from home for second nightBoth Waitaki vegetation fires were fully contained last night. Photo: Otago - Fire and Emergency/Facebook

Nenthorn residents spent another night away from their homes last night, after fire forced them out in the early hours of Monday morning.

Otago firefighters had last night fully contained both vegetation fires in the Waitaki District, and continued to work to extinguish hotspots.

However, residents of three households who self-evacuated from the fire, near Middlemarch, were still unable to return as crews worked near their homes.

The 78-hectare fire started around midnight on Sunday and destroyed or damaged farm buildings. In the gale force winds, flames came close to one home, but fire crews were able to save it.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) incident controller Bobby Lamont said crews with hand tools, supported by excavators and helicopters, were yesterday digging out and extinguishing deep-seated fires under two large stands of trees.

"One crew will monitor the fire overnight and there’ll be fresh crews arriving in the morning," he said.

All Fire and Emergency crews have now left the second fire at Earthquakes near Duntroon on Department of Conservation (Doc) land.

The incident controller there, Jason Sarich, said most of this fire was in grass which spread rapidly in Sunday night’s gale force winds.

"The wind dropped around 7am this morning and crews were able to get on top of it pretty quickly," he said last night.

The fire was completely contained and Doc fire crews were working with helicopters to mop up hot spots.

The Department of Conservation crews will patrol and monitor the fireground for the next few days.