Crews to monitor Taupo bush fire for days

The blaze destroyed 25 to 30ha of a pine plantation, stopping just short of the Pureora Forest. Photo / Google Maps
The blaze destroyed 25 to 30ha of a pine plantation, stopping just short of the Pureora Forest. Photo / Google Maps

A bush fire near a Taupo native forest is well under control but it will take crews another few days to make sure it's completely out.

The blaze, which has been burning since Saturdayafternoon, destroyed at least 25 hectares of a pine plantation, stopping just short of the Pureora Forest, the fire service said.

It started when recently harvested pine caught alight.

The plantation is next to Department of Conservation-managed land, but firefighters managed to keep the blaze away from protected areas, said rural fire officer Dave Smith.

A DoC crew was in charge last night and when firefighters returned this morning the fire was "well under control", Smith said.

"The cool temperatures overnight helped suppress the fire."

Two DoC crews were on the ground today, with a helicopter and earthworks vehicle supporting them.

No flare-ups had been found, but several logs and stumps were still smoking, Smith said.

Fire crews would stay on scene for the next two to three days, dampening hot spots to ensure the fire didn't spark up again.

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. Those actions eventually led to the end of native forest logging in the park.

- NZ Herald

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