Large bush fire contained in Pureora Forest near Taupo

The fire at Pureora Forest. Photo / Supplied
The fire at Pureora Forest. Photo / Supplied

A large bushfire northwest of Taupo that cosumed up to 10 hectares of scrub and forest is contained but not out.

Fire Service northern shift manager Paul Raddem said the fire in Pureora Forest Park started on Saturday afternoon. Close to 50 firefighters were at the scene as 12 crews, two helicopters and a command unit from Rotorua responded to the blaze.

They have all been stood down overnight. The Department of Conservation will monitor the site overnight and firefighting will commence in the morning.

Raddem said the fire was very close to a pine plantation and native forest. He believed no structures or people were in danger. The fire is in the middle of the forest which is 47km northwest of Taupo.

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Local woman Rebecca Amy Burns spotted the fire when she was milking cows. She said it had been smouldering since at least 4pm.

She thought it must be close to Link Rd.

MetService senior forecaster Erick Brenstrum said the conditions are summery but not too windy. The temperature was sitting around 22C at 6pm.

"It's fine and the winds are light westerlies. Tomorrow clouds develop with drizzle later on. There'll be no substantial rain until Monday."

Pureora Forest Park is a 78,000ha protected area. It has a high conservation value with a variety of plant species and animal habitats - including an abundance of 1000-year-old podocarp trees. The park is one of the largest intact tracts of native forest in the North Island.

In 1946 Pureora Forest was one of the last native forests to be opened up for logging.

The park contains a treetop protest platform where one of New Zealand's most significant conservation battles took place in 1978. Their actions eventually led to the end of native forest logging in the park.

- NZ Herald

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