Large bush fire near Coromandel

 Large bush fire near Coromandel

20 January 2008

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New Zealand — Houses have been evacuated south of the Coromandel township where a large bush fire is raging out of control.

Fifteen appliances are at the scene in Tiki Quarry Road at Te Kouma, about five kilometres from the centre of Coromandel.

Firefighter Owen Hughes says crews began battling the blaze at 10pm Saturday and although the properties are no longer in danger it is too early for the people who were evacuated to return home. Hughes says helicopters have been brought in to assist the firefighting and at least 50 firefighters are battling the blaze on the ground.

High winds have fanned the blaze and are expected to stiffen during Sunday.

Fire Service spokesman Scott Osmond says he does not know exactly how far fire has spread but it jumped a couple of hundred metres in a few hours.

Communication from the area has been difficult.

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