Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Mr Graeme Still will be at the council office in Twizel at 4pm for a media standup. Please RSVP to email@example.com if you will be attending.
UPDATE – 3PM
Eleven helicopters and seven ground crews are battling the fire at Lake Ohau.
Fire and Emergency Incident Controller Graeme Still said the fire was burning over approximately 1600 hectares.
Having flown over the fireground this afternoon, he estimates that at least 20 homes have been damaged or destroyed in Lake Ohau Village, and an Urban Search and Rescue team will be deployed to make a full assessment of the village.
“All residents are accounted for and we will have crews in the village overnight in case of any flare ups,” Mr Still said. Due to the high winds it has so far been unsafe for residents to return to their homes to assess damage. “I am very mindful of how upsetting it is for the residents. Their safety is our main concern at this time.”
Crews are working to steer the fire away from other structures and critical infrastructure, including the main power lines servicing Queenstown and Wanaka.
Mr Still said the high winds meant the fire could not yet be contained and he cautioned the situation could change rapidly with any shift in the wind.
As well as the fire crews and helicopters, two diggers and a grader were working to create firebreaks to help safeguard critical infrastructure.