Five helicopters battling massive fire engulfing 200 hectares near Queenstown

A massive fire has engulfed 200 hectares of scrub land near Queenstown.

Emergency services battled the fire on Saturday afternoon at the bottom of Deep Creek, Skippers Canyon.

It began at roughly 2:45pm, but has now been largely contained. The blaze was about 200 hectares in size. To put that in perspective, one hectare is about the size of a rugby field.

"After a sustained effort by six helicopters using monsoon buckets and seven ground crews, we've done as much as we can to contain the fire, but we need to be prepared for things to change overnight," says Mark Mawhinney, the deputy principal rural fire officer for Central Otago.

"While a woodshed and vehicle were lost in the fire, nearby residential properties have been protected and there is no risk to life in the area."

He said wind was dropping and there was potential for rain overnight. It would be difficult, however, to get a good understanding of the extent of the fire until in the morning.

"We'll be standing the emergency service crews down overnight for safety reasons, but the fire will be closely monitored and the response effort will start again at first light once we are clear what we are dealing with."

Skippers Rd is closed until further notice.