17 Mar 2010

Marlborough forest fire under control

12:16 pm on 17 March 2010

A forest fire that forced the evacuation of about 35 people from their homes in Marlborough has been brought under control.

Firefighters were called at about 10.30 pm on Tuesday to the fire in a forestry block near State Highway 6 in the Pelorus Valley..

The Fire Service says the blaze spread to a hillside but crews managed to save nearby houses. At one stage, about 30 firefighters were fighting the blaze.

Nelson deputy fire chief Tim Bennion said on Wednesday the fire had destroyed up to 30 hectares of pine forest.

Four helicopters with monsoon buckets were brought in to fight the fire from the air, and bulldozers were used to cut fire breaks.

Residents who were moved out of their properties spent the night at a local marae. They were allowed home on Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson from the Department of Conservation the fire is contained but crews will be on standby in case it reignites.