Blenheim,New Zealand — A digger fire out of the reach of firefighters couldhave become a widespread forest fire had conditions not been so calm yesterday,according to a fire official.
The bush machine caught fire in regenerating pine forest near Okaramio about 9am yesterday.
The driver was unhurt and alerted emergency services but the area he was in could not be reached by fire appliances and tankers.
Department of Conservation Marlborough North duty officer and Renwick Volunteer Fire Brigade fire fighter Jim Herdman said fire fighters instead had to wait until a helicopter with a monsoon bucket arrived.
The helicopter took about an hour to douse the 30 square metre fire within regenerating pine forest near the end of Kenningtons Rd, Okaramio.
He said it was lucky there was not much wind yesterday which stopped the fire from spreading quickly.
A DOC four wheel drive with a tanker also managed to get access and hoses were relayed up. A two-man crew was later left with a small tanker to douse down hot spots.
Mr Herdman said it was unclear what caused the digger to catch on fire.
Renwick and Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigades and the Canvastown Fire Party attended the scene.
A helicopter with monsoon bucket works to douse a fire started by a digger near Okaramio yesterday. (photo: WARWICK BLACKLER)