Warning to mountain bikers as firefighters battle large fire in Coronet Peak, Otago

The fire on Skippers Road.
The fire on Skippers Road. Photo credit: Supplied/FENZ

Firefighters are fighting a large vegetation fire that is burning near Coronet Peak in Otago on Friday.

The blaze has sparked a warning for mountain bikers to stay off nearby tracks just as the 10-day mountain bike festival kicks off in Queenstown.

Fire and Emergency (FENZ) said they were alerted to the blaze on Skippers Road at about 6:15pm on Thursday. Six helicopters were sent to support the ground crews.

The crew was stood down for the evening from 9:45pm Thursday but resumed work early Friday morning.

Incident Controller Mark Mawhinney said the fire is burning in about six hectares of retired high country farmland which includes a large area of dead wilding pine trees.

"We are using helicopters to knock down the active fire while conditions are in our favour this morning, and ground crews will be working to secure the perimeter along the Skippers Road and extinguish hotspots," Mawhinney said.

The fire is not yet under control and is being tackled by four ground crews and three helicopters, FENZ said.

Skippers Road is closed and people are urged not to fly drones in the area because they are a serious hazard to helicopters.

The area is popular with mountain bikers and several nearby tracks would lead bikers close to  the blaze.

The trails close to the fire include the Skippers Pack Track, the Coronet Loop below Greengate Saddle, the Pack Track and Sack Trail and Atleys Terrace Track.

Bikers are warned to stay away from these trails.