Southland fire to keep on burning

Southland fire to keep on burning

16 January 2011

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New Zealand — A fire that destroyed part of a Southland lodge last night is likely to burn for several days yet, firefighters say.

The blaze, which started about 6.30pm yesterday, burnt through 50 hectares in the Papatotara area, 6km southwest of Tuatapere, before it was brought under control late last night, Southern Rural Fire Authority spokesman Elton Smith said.

Smith said the fire has destroyed a building at Rarakau Lodge, where a number of people stayed before walking the nearby Hump Ridge Track.

A car in the track’s carpark hs also destroyed and another 12 are damaged by heat and fire. A shed and tractor are also damaged.

Smith said trampers on the track have been asked to stay put for the day and no trampers are allowed to enter the track today.

“The fire is still burning from yesterday and will continue to burn for a few days. It is contained at the moment and fire crews are making it as safe as possible to protect further property.”

Smith said three helicopters, three tankers and six ground crews are working to keep the blaze from spreading.

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