Glenorchy bushfire under control, power back on, investigation continues

Firefighters say it will take up to five days to put out the fire that has ravaged 150 ha south of Queenstown. Photo / Facebook
Firefighters say it will take up to five days to put out the fire that has ravaged 150 ha south of Queenstown. Photo / Facebook

A devastating scrub fire near Queenstown has been largely contained and power restored to a southern settlement cut off by the blaze.

Queenstown Lakes District Council said ground patrols monitored the Rat Pt fire overnight and helicopters were on standby. Rain helped and there have been no flare ups since last night.

Power company crews worked overnight and restored power to Glenorchy about midnight, much earlier than anticipated.


This morning two ground crews continued to patrol the area to fully extinguish the fire and dampen down hotspots. A helicopter was also on hand to ferry ground crews and help with observations.

It was still expected to take three to five days to put out the fire that claimed 150ha of native scrub and trees on steep lakeside terrain.

The Glenorchy Rd, which was closed by the fire, was now open though drivers were asked to take care when driving through the area. As firefighters were still putting out the blaze the road could be closed temporarily throughout the day.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze would begin today and fire investigators are at the scene.

Yesterday police launched a criminal investigation into the blaze, which started at a lakeside campsite.

Weather conditions are set to remain changeable today, when gusts of up to 65kph are expected.

Otago Rural Fire Authority incident controller Phil Marsh said that although the fire was controlled, fire crews had a lot of work to do before it would be considered out.

"They will be working hard over the next few days to make sure it's safe.

"The crews involved yesterday did an outstanding job and it's a credit to their skill and professionalism that we've had over 50 people working alongside eight helicopters in a very demanding environment with no incidents or injuries."

He thanked the local community for their support. Offers of food and support from a number of businesses had been appreciated, he said.

"Emergency services in this region are predominantly staffed with volunteers so we thank those people and their organisations for being so supportive," he said.

- NZ Herald

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