Seagull causes another small scrub fire in Marlborough

  • 29/11/2015

A seagull hitting a powerline has been blamed for sparking a small scrub fire in tinder-dry Marlborough, not far from the major blaze in the Waikakaho Valley.

Four helicopters, which had been fighting the bigger fire, took just 10 minutes to fly to Cullens Point, just outside Havelock, about 1.30pm today.

A member of the public reported seeing the fire start after a seagull hit a power line, says Marlborough principal rural fire officer Richard McNamara.

The fire began on Department of Conservation land and was just metres from large dry tracts of gorse, he said.

"It would have whipped away very quickly if the gorse had caught. We were lucky to get to it so fast."

The helicopters and three ground crews were able to control it within two-and-a-half hours.

Meanwhile, the Waikakaho Valley forest fire, north of Blenheim, is now considered to be about 80 percent under control.

The fire started at a forestry skid site on Wednesday and has burned through about 450 hectares. No houses were touched but forestry equipment and vehicles were destroyed.

Cooler temperatures had made conditions easier on Sunday, said incident controller Rob Hands.

Valley residents have been allowed to return to their properties.

A total fire ban has been imposed across Marlborough.