A fire is raging tonight in a significant conservation area near Invercargill.
Fire Service southern communications centre shift manager Karl Patterson said the fire covered about 30ha of manuka bush and wetlands in the Awarua Bay area.
The Awarua Wetlands are one of the country's largest and are recognised as an important area for their biological diversity and cultural values.
It is frequented by foreign migrating and wading bird species and contains threatened plants and insects, including sub-alpine species, according to the Department of Conservation website.
Mr Patterson said firefighters from several stations in Southland were on their way to the scene, including three helicopters.
"It's not threatening any property as far as we've been told but there is a reasonable westerly which is causing it to spread fairly fast."
The location of the fire meant access was difficult.