Chatham Islands wildfire soon to be contained

File photo

Two helicopters and four fire crews are continuing their efforts to fully contain the wildfire on the Chatham Islands.

The fire, which broke out on Thursday, has ripped through approximately 3,000 hectares of land, which is equivalent to about 3000 rugby fields.

Principal Rural Fire Officer, Craig Cottrill, says the fire is expected to be fully contained in the next day or two.

However, it could take two weeks before it’s fully extinguished and any risk of it flaring up again is over.

Department of Conservation staff are also helping crews secure the boundary of the fire, which is about 1 kilometre from conservation land.

"The wind is coming from the North, so that’s pushing the fire back onto itself, which is helping," he says.

"But later on tomorrow there will be a wind change, which could push the fire into previously unburnt areas of regenerating bush and grasslands. Today we’re really concentrating our efforts on dampening the east side of the fire with the helicopters, before the westerly arrives."

He says tackling the blaze has been a huge team effort involving volunteers, the Department of Conservation, the Chatham Islands Council and many others.

"All these organisations and the Chatham Islands community have been very supportive. Their support, and having our specialist firefighters arrive from Wellington, has made a huge difference in helping bring this fire under control."

An additional air attack or helicopter supervisor is also being sent in to help this afternoon.

The cause of the blaze is yet to established.

One fire investigator is already at the fire scene, and another is expected to arrive tomorrow to begin a thorough investigation.

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