27 Oct 2011

Fire exercise in Queenstown

5:30 pm on 27 October 2011

A two day exercise involving a "fire" threatening 500 homes at Queenstown has been testing the skills of a multi-agency rapid- response team.

The exercise, which finishes on Thursday, involves personnel from the Department of Conservation, the Fire Service, the police and councils.

The scenario is very similar to that of a fire near the Alpine Retreat subdivision in 2005. In the exercise, hundreds of residents have been forced from their homes.

Wakatipu rural fire officer Jamie Cowan says practising what to do in a major fire is important for residents and those called on to fight the blaze.

DoC wants residents living near the bushline in Queenstown to be aware of their evacuation plans, before it happens for real.