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Wind change helps fight Otago blaze

Fire crews will today assess whether it is safe for residents near the massive forest fire in Otago to return home.

Over the past two days the fire has grown to around 750 hectares and five houses in the Mount Allan area have been evacuated as a precaution.

Civil Defence spokesman Glen Mitchell says both ground and aerial crews will be looking at the fire deciding what to do next. He says residents remain evacuated at this stage and the assessors are for looking at the viability of getting those people in to their homes. However he says there is still some unburnt vegetation around those properties.

Mr Mitchell says today’s cold temperatures are helping them fight the fire, as well as the direction of the wind.

“The wind coming from the south-west is actually pushing the fire back on to itself, so it’s taken the intensity out of the fire.

Wenita Forest Products, which owns the land that is ablaze, agrees they have made major gains and if the weather stays the same throughout the day they will be in a good position.

Spokesman John Kerr says they are now, for the first time, able to move in ground crews as this is the first time the weather has gone their way.

However Mr Kerr says there are three areas which are a priority as the fire threatens more mature wood resources.


For more coverage on this fire see the Otago Daily Times


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