Helicopters join fire fighting efforts

By Kieran Campbell

Photo / File
Photo / File

Helicopters will join efforts to control a large bushfire this morning that has already burned more than 400ha of significant conservation land near Invercargill.

Fire Service southern communications centre shift manager Karl Patterson said it was expected to take several days to control the blaze of manuka bush and wetlands in the Awarua Bay area.

"We are using three helicopters, they were based in Invercargill overnight in preparation for a hit on the fire," Mr Patterson said.

"There is nothing to suggest it has flared up greatly but from our knowledge the fire is still going."

Rural firefighters and the Department of Conservation will aid the helicopters in fighting the blaze today.

"It's going to be long term - it's not a short job, unfortunately," Mr Patterson said.

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.

The fire has not threatened any properties.

- APNZ

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