Bush fire threatens conservation land

About 40 firefighters have managed to contain a large bush fire beneath the summit of Roy's Peak, Wanaka, overnight after a farmer's burn-off got out of control and threatened conservation land.

The fire burned about 100ha of farmland and came within 400m of The Stack conservation area near the Roy's Peak walking track.

Wanaka station officer Garth Campbell said firefighters from several stations in the region had been involved in extinguishing the blaze.

A helicopter with a monsoon bucket was still trying to dampen down hotspots, but the fire was now "well and truly under control''.

The Department of Conservation, which has legislative responsibility for fires within 1km of a DoC reserve, took control of the fire at 6.30pm.

DoC Wanaka area office community relations manager Annette Grieve said a permit for the burn-off had been issued to Tuohys Farm by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

However, the fire had escaped into neighbouring Alpha Burn Station and another adjoining property and continued to spread up the hillside. It was unclear at this stage what had caused the fire to spread.

Mrs Grieve said landowner John Levy had brought in a helicopter equipped with a monsoon bucket from Alpine Helicopters to try to bring the fire under control and DoC subsequently called in Aspiring Helicopters to assist.

A DoC ground crew was also on stand-by throughout the evening.

Dozens of cars lined Mt Aspiring Rd throughout the evening, as spectators watched the fire, which lit up the hillside overlooking the lake.

- Otago Daily Times

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