Burnside fire: 100 homes evacuated overnight
Six fire teams will continue to fight the outbreaks overnight and 100 homes remain evacuated as the scale of the Burnside blaze becomes apparent.
The Southern Highway is closed, at least three industrial buildings have been damaged and 100 homes have been evacuated, with residents moved to hotels and motels, as a result of the blaze, which started after 5 p.m., and continues to burn in places, despite being largely under control.
Deputy Area Commander and Incident Controller Phil Marsh told a press conference last night that six helicopters, 25 fire apparatus and up to 100 staff were involved.
Three of the four flanks of the fire were contained, but the end of the fire in the Kaikorai Valley was “still creeping”.
“It is not yet fully contained.”
Mr Marsh said the blaze started as a wildfire affecting industrial premises, “spotting” across the road in a residential area.
About 25 ha of vegetation and trees were caught in the blaze, which spread to industrial buildings and a pile of wood.
About a hundred houses were evacuated.
Mr Marsh said a small shed was damaged at a residential property, but the houses were not damaged
Three commercial buildings had been “seriously damaged”, and barrels of tar and oil had caught fire and exploded.
Firefighters had been withdrawn to the Concord side of the highway, with unmanned equipment fighting the blaze.
There were no reports of injuries to firefighters or residents.
The highway was still closed last night and the Otago Daily Schedules understands that the main railway line has also been closed.
Mr Marsh said rising temperatures and low humidity had caused extreme fire conditions.
Fire investigators are said to be on the scene today to determine the cause of the blaze.
Dunedin City Council’s chief strategy and governance director Sandy Graham said around 100 homes had been evacuated.
Residents were expected to spend the night outdoors and motels had been arranged for them along with food and other needs.
Pets of residents would also be taken care of in kennels and catteries.
Deputy Commander of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) zone, Craig Geddes, said at the scene shortly before 8 p.m. that the crews were “working hard”.
By 9 p.m., some teams were demobilized, but six firefighters would be stationed at strategic locations overnight to combat hot spots and flare-ups.
The helicopters would continue to operate as long as they remained safe, Geddes said.
Mr Geddes said firefighters were “against it” because of the point fires and the way the fire moved.
However, the fire was under control.
“We think we’ve confined it to a block of forest, a pile of lumber, and buildings adjacent to the highway.”
Mr Geddes said the helicopter crews were doing “a fantastic job” of fighting point fires and controlling the main fire.
“The main problem now is the wind, which is against us.”
There had been explosions of LPG containers, refrigerated containers and vehicles as the fire swept through the area.
âThese are extremely dangerous, extremely dangerous fire conditions, with all the risks that come with it. ”
At a St Clair Golf Club evacuation center shortly after 8 p.m., around 50 people gathered at properties near the fire.
A Red Cross welfare truck was at the scene.
The people interviewed by the Otago Daily Schedules said they weren’t sure what was going on and were awaiting news from authorities on what to do next.
The golf club facilities were open to evacuees, but there were no overnight facilities.
Police were helping Fenz evacuate properties due to a fire in Burnside, Dunedin.
Some residents of Morton St, Mary St and Mulford St have been asked to leave their homes until further notice.
âWe suggest that residents of the Samson Rd and Emerson St areas also consider vacating their properties at this time.
Residents of Stevenson Rd, upstream of Emerson St and Orr St, have also been urged to consider leaving their homes.
The Southern Highway was closed to traffic on the Kaikorai Valley entry and exit ramps, and the second exit ramp in Abbotsford.
Diversions were in place at Lookout Point.
Police said in an earlier statement that emergency services were at the scene of a fire in the McLeods Rd neighborhood of Burnside, Dunedin.
Police were at the traffic lines on McLeods Rd, Kaikorai Valley Rd and Main South Rd.
People have been urged to avoid the area if possible.
The rain shouldn’t start to fall until midnight.
Temperatures across Dunedin have just fallen below 30 degrees Celsius for the first time since late morning.
However, a cool northwesterly wind, gusting to around 40 km / h, is still blowing and the air remains very dry, with humidity as low as 20%.