28 Nov 2015

Waikakaho Valley fire almost contained

10:20 pm on 28 November 2015

Firefighters have almost contained the forest fire burning in Marlborough's Waikakaho Valley.

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Photo: Tane Anderson

Crews have been working around the clock since Wednesday, when a large forest fire forced people to evacuate their homes. Strong winds exacerbated the fire, which the fire service struggled to contain despite bringing in 12 extra crews.

The region's principal rural fire officer Richard McNamara said firefighters have achieved their aim of 80 percent containment by the end of today.

He says better weather has helped, although the wind has still been gusting up to 90 kilometres an hour.

Earlier today, valley residents were briefed by Fire Service officials at a public meeting in Tuamarina.

Mr McNamara had wanted to reassure residents that firefighters' top priority was keeping people safe.

The aggressive fire has burnt through more than 400ha in the valley, north-west of Blenheim.