4 Dec 2011

Bulldozers, watertankers join firefighting efforts

10:45 am on 4 December 2011

Firefighters in the Far North called in bulldozers and water tankers to the Karikari Peninsula on Saturday, to keep a scrub fire contained.

The fire, which is suspected arson, started on Wednesday and has destroyed three houses, and burnt a large area of scrubland.

Two men on board a helicopter also died while carrying out a search and rescue operation, shortly after the blaze started.

Incident controller Bryan Jensen says heavy rain is forecast for Sunday so the goal is to keep the fire contained.

He says that means strengthening containment lines and isolating and completely extinguishing some areas of unburnt but smouldering scrub.

Mr Jensen says if the rain arrives, helicopters with infra-red technology will do a fly-over of the area on Monday to ensure the fire is completely out.