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Update on Chatham Islands fire

30 November 2007


Update on Chatham Islands fire

A fire has burned around 60 hectares of the 422.9 ha Wharekauri (Greenswamp) Conservation Area in the northern Chatham Islands.

It forms part of the extensive peat swamp system of the northern Chatham Islands and is one of New Zealand’s best examples of peat swamps.

The fire was reported by a local farmer at 1.40pm yesterday and firefighters from DOC and the Chatham Islands Volunteer Fire Brigade, fought the fire using water from a nearby creek, with help from local volunteers. Around 18 personnel were involved.

They were stood down at 10pm, by which time the fire was beyond the reach of the water source and had burned an area of around 40 ha. Alternative water sources are being investigated.

The fire is burning in a 1.5 to 2km front through 6 feet (2 metre) high tarahinau drachophyllum forest and is volatile with flames 2 to 5 metres high. Sixty hectares had been burnt by 5 am this morning. The fire has moved outside the conservation area to adjacent farmland.

There is a 5 knot northerly wind on the Chathams at present

Two fire crews from the mainland will be flying into the Chathams this afternoon to assist.

ENDS

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