Rotorua crews called in to fight blaze

Firefighters have been recruited from Rotorua and Nelson to relieve exhausted crews battling a large blaze on Great Barrier Island.

At least 40 properties have been evacuated as a result of the fire, which continues to burn this morning.

National Rural Fire Officer Murray Dudfield said five firefighters from Rotorua and another five from Nelson had arrived on the island to help local crews and those from Auckland.

"The fire is contained but not out and there's still a lot of work to be done," he said.

Firefighters were today attempting to create a fire break to stop the blaze spreading further.

Mr Dudfield said it was a similar situation with a large fire on the Pouto Peninsula in Northland, which covered about 180ha.

Firefighters had contained the blaze but were attempting to completely extinguish it yesterday.

There were four large scrub fires in different parts of New Zealand on Wednesday.

"Soil moisture levels are below normal so when you do get a fire there's a lot of work to be done to saturate the fuel and soil with water," Mr Dudfield said.

"The last three summers have been quite quiet for us and this is going back to what we used to get about five years ago."


- Rotorua Daily Post

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