Large scrub fire breaks out in Otago

Fire crews, including ten helicopters, are tackling a large scrub fire in Otago.

An estimated 2773 hectares of tussock is burning in Middlemarch after a fire began on the edge of Te Papanui Conservation Park just before 11am on Saturday. The blaze has now spread to adjoining land owned by the Dunedin City Council.

One property has been evacuated as a precaution.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Ten helicopters with monsoon buckets are helping fight the inferno, along with ground crews.

Fire and Emergency says the blaze is on steep terrain, and access is difficult. The conditions are also hot and windy, with up to 50km/h gusts from the north-east.

This is forecast to continue through the evening and into early Sunday morning. Firefighters will remain at the scene until nightfall and resume at first light.

While the fire will be monitored overnight, there will be no "fire suppression" during the darkness as the blaze is in a remote area with no road access, a FENZ spokesperson said.

People sensitive to smoke are being advised to stay indoors with the windows and doors shut. A large cloud of smoke is visible over much of south Otago.


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