Drone footage reveals miles of devastation on Chatham Islands

Drone footage has revealed the extent of the devastation on the Chatham Islands.

Charred and smouldering hillside stretches for miles on end, with some areas still well ablaze.

So far 19 houses have been evacuated and the fire is estimated to be 2000 hectares in size.

Specialist fire crews from Wellington left for the islands, 800km east of the South Island, on Saturday morning, in an effort to regain the upper hand.

Around 14 personnel will relieve volunteers, carrying enough fuel supplies and equipment for a two week deployment.

Two helicopters with monsoon bucket capacity are also set to arrive on the island early Saturday afternoon.