Dry conditions and strong winds have kept firefighters on their toes with several blazes over the past 24 hours.

A massive fire threatened homes and cut power to Glenorchy after it ravaged 150ha on Jessie Peak, near Queenstown yesterday. It was believed to have started just before midnight on January 10 on the Wakatipu Lake edge by Rat Pt, a popular camping area.

About 50 firefighters and eight helicopters with monsoon buckets battled the blaze, which started below the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd.

Power was cut off to the town at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, where its normal population of nearly 400 was swelled by holidaymakers. Aurora Energy advised that the 335 affected customers may have to wait for two more days before their power is restored.


The fire is now under control. Ground crews dampened down the roadside and the Glenorchy Rd is open.

The weather will remain changeable with sustained winds up to 25km/h forecast, but rain was predicted last night.

Otago Rural Fire Authority incident controller Phil Marsh said it had been a testing day contending with steep terrain, high temperatures and strong winds but everyone had done a superb job in restricting the fire.

"We're very grateful to everyone for their efforts and to the public for the support that we've received. The changeable weather conditions meant that we had to close the Queenstown-Glenorchy Rd a couple of times to ensure public safety, so we appreciate people's patience."

Police and the Fire Service are investigating how the blaze started.

Anyone who was around the Rat Pt area has been asked to speak to authorities.

No evacuations were necessary, but residents of Bob's Cove and Closeburn Station were alerted in case they needed to leave.

Emergency services also rushed to a bush fire near Taupo yesterday afternoon.

Fire Service assistant area commander Colin Russell said they found a fire near the Ohaaki Power Station. He said it was progressing very quickly towards Te Toke Rd and covered 5ha at its peak. It was now contained and Russell expected it would be out by today.

"We have four crews working on the rear flanks and two helicopter operating with monsoon buckets on the head of the fire.

"We are definitely making an impact on it."

Russell said the terrain was mostly farmland and scrub. The fire did not threaten any buildings.

One person was seriously injured in a fire on Waiheke Island.

St John attended the fire at 12.40pm yesterday, treating one patient who was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

St John spokeswoman Jennifer Porter said she was unable to confirm exactly what had happened, but said the fire was not one the Fire Service had to attend.

A 50-year-old man had been taken by helicopter to Auckland Central Hospital with burns, she said.

A fire broke out in a downtown Auckland tower yesterday afternoon.

The Fire Service told the Herald six crews fought the blaze on the 10th floor of the Quay St building.

Two more fire crews arrived after the fire was reported at 1.50pm.

The Fire Service said the blaze began in a records room in the 16-storey building, which holds apartments and offices.