Forest / Wild Fire in New Zealand on January 31 2018 12:22 PM (UTC).
100 homes have been evacuated as firefighters battle a large fire in Burnside, Dunedin. Residents have been advised to not return until tomorrow morning, and are in temporary accommodation overnight. Three industrial buildings have been damaged near McLeods Road, and fire spread to nearby vegetation, Fire and Emergency NZ says. ix helicopters, 25 crews, three tankers and one command unit are at the scene, were working to contain the fire at its peak. Crews are also working to put out spot fires caused by embers being blown onto properties. Helicopters have been stood down for the evening as ground crews continue to contain the perimeter of the fire. The police have been assisting Fire and Emergency to evacuate properties on Morton, Mary, Mulford, Winifred and Samson Streets as well as part of Main South Road. The welfare centre at the St Clair Golf Club, set up by police for those who have been asked to leave their homes, has been shut down. Civil Defence and Red Cross personnel will be there to help those residents who need it. Part of the Dunedin Southern Motorway was also closed to traffic but has since been reopend and a 30km/h speed limit is in place. Regional response coordinator Mike Grant is advising people to stay away from the area. "Please don't try to get into the area, with roads closed it will cause congestion for our firefighters and crews who are working as hard as they can to stop the fire spreading," he said tonight. "There's embers that have carried in the wind, and they have been landing on nearby properties. We have a lot of firefighters reacting very quickly to this, and they're working through these areas to put them out." There have been several other fires in the Otago and Southland regions today as temperatures have reached a sweltering 30 degrees in some parts. The scrub fire that broke out in Tahakopa Valley in the Catlins has now been extinguished, while four tankers and three crews remain at the Round Hill Road inland from Karitane. Firefighters are also still battling a scrub fire at Awarua south of Invercargill where five helicopters and four tankers were deployed. The fire broke out at a timber mill and spread from a pile of vegetation into dry grass. Thick smoke crossed the nearby Invercargill Bluff Highway and a fertilizer works, across the highway from the fire, was evacuated as a precaution. Traffic diversions are in place in the area. Crews were stood down earlier as the fire was contained, however a front has come in and whipped flames up again. Firefighters are urging people to be extremely vigilant in the extremely hot conditions, and avoid any activity that could potentially spark a fire.