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Steady Rain Assists Fire Fighting Efforts

12 January 2005

Steady Rain Assists Fire Fighting Efforts

Steady rain over Christchurch this morning has assisted efforts by Rural Fire crews to extinguish a large number of hot spots remaining from a forestry fire in the north-east of Christchurch.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Keith Marshall says two infrared cameras were used in the fire area overnight to pinpoint areas of smouldering embers or buried fires and fire crews extinguished about 50 of these.

"This rain's really good because it very much reduces the possibility of any further fires in the next few days," Mr Marshall says. "However, the region's still dry and people need to realise that dry grass and scrub only needs a day of decent nor-west wind and it's ready to burn again so everyone needs to take care and remain watchful."

The rain was not enough to extinguish all the hot spots at the Spencer Park fire. "It will have cooled some of them off and made it easier for our guys to mop them up, but it won't be enough to have much effect on the really hot ones," Mr Marshall says. "Part of today's work is for the diggers to get in there and open up hot spots and lay them out so the rain can cool them."

Water being pumped by the Fire Service is now also feeding several large irrigators which are being regularly shifted as the ground is soaked.

Mr Marshall says active suppression work will continue today and overnight and operators would again be using the infrared cameras to find and mark hot spots. An flyover with an infrared camera is also planned and this information will be checked tomorrow (Friday) to decide how much more work is needed to finish the job.

"We're at the point where in some areas we've got pretty high confidence that it's extinguished and we can concentrate our effort on the remaining areas," Mr Marshall says.

Call for information: The cause of the fire has not been established. New Brighton Police want to talk to anyone who was in the forest area near the beach south of Spencer Park from around mid-afternoon on Sunday, 8 January.


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