Fire crews halt Prebbleton blaze, as South Island hit by gale force winds
Residents and fire brigades in much of the South Island battled Saturday to stop the damage and power outages caused by gale-force northerly winds with gusts of up to 120 km/h.
Conditions began to ease aft with a strong wind warning for Southland, Fiordland and Stewart Island, removed by MetService at 1pm.
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The wind continued to abate and the warnings were removed in Otago and Canterbury later on Saturday. The storms were replaced by southwesterly winds and cooler airflow, MetService forecaster Dan Corrigan said.
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Gusts of up to 102 km/h were recorded at Dunedin Airport, Mt Cook Airdrome and Milford Sound, up to 89 km/h at Christchurch Airport.
A large vegetation fire in Prebbleton, south of Christchurch, broke out in mid-morning but was under control by midday.
At least 10 fire trucks were dispatched to bring the blaze, fueled by strong northerly winds, under control.
Jill Higgison, the shift chief of Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) Christchurch, said the crew was working to stabilize a trampoline that had smashed into a utility pole in Statham St, Dunedin around 8:40 a.m. Saturday.
Another crew dismantled a trampoline after it was swept on a car in Corstorphine, Dunedin.
Crews from four to five different fire stations were also called in around noon for a hedge fire near Yaldhurst outside Christchurch.
There were initial reports of two fires, one between Buchanans Rd and Old West Coast Rd, and one between Buchanans Rd and West Coast Rd/State Highway 73 – but the reports were the same fire near Yaldhurst Cemetery and Rimu Scout Park.
Ten devices responded to the blaze, which took about two hours to fight.
Higgins said tankers were “mopping the area” and making sure there were no more hot spots on Saturday afternoon.
Speak with stuff around 3 p.m. on Saturday, incident controller Mark Van Dereyl, of Darfield Rural Station, said it had been a “pretty full day” due to the wind, but no structures at the Rimu Scout Camp had been damaged.
An excavator was deployed to remove a large smoldering log.
Also in Canterbury, firefighters helped secure the roof of a house in Rolleston on Saturday after it was lifted by high winds.
There were power lines on Old West Coast Rd in Templeton.
The Lincoln Fire Station crew attended a fire on Chamberlains Rd, Springston, believed to have been caused by the wind.
Crews helped residents around Canterbury stabilize loose roofing and remove fallen trees.
MetService’s National Forecast.