60 staff battle Banks Peninsula blaze

60 staff battle Banks Peninsula blaze

13 July 2011

published by www.nzherald.co.nz

New Zealand — Staff from the Fire Service, Christchurch City Council, and Department of Conservation are continuing to battle a 400ha bush fire near Akaroa on Banks Peninsula.

Around 60 staff, six helicopters and five tankers are at the blaze, near the intersection of Long Bay and Summit roads at Stony Bay, 5km from Akaroa.

The fire started around 1pm yesterday and is likely that is was started by a lightning strike, the council said, however the cause of the fire are still being investigated.

Overnight winds pushed the blaze over to the Akaroa side of Stony Bay Peak.

Four houses were evacuated around dusk last night because of concerns winds could push the fire towards them.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Keith Marshall said access to the site is limited.

“This is a significant fire on the peninsula and we have called in a large team to respond,” Mr Marshall said.

“It is burning through the Hinewai Reserve, which has been developed over the past 20 years to encourage biodiversity on the peninsula. The fire is adjacent to two popular walking tracks in the area.”

Fire Service spokesman Greg Rapana said this morning there were properties in the area, however they are not at risk at this stage.

The council is requesting people not to use Long Bay Rd to keep it clear for emergency vehicles.

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