Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Pukaki Downs fire update #4

Pukaki Downs fire update #4

Seven helicopters with monsoon buckets are now in operation at the Pukaki Downs fire.

Fire and Emergency Assistant Commander Stephen Butler says the helicopters are working in two sectors.

"One sector is focused on protecting residential homes and they are working in conjunction with ground crews to strengthen the fire break in this area.

"The second sector is at the northern end of the fire and working to protect a plantation in the area."

Diggers are also operating alongside Fire and Emergency ground crews to establish or widen fire breaks.

The wind is currently pushing the fire back onto itself, but a wind shift in the middle of the day is expected to push it back in the direction it was moving last night, Butler says. 

A second wind shift is also expected later in the day and crews will be mindful of staying safe throughout the day.

No damage has been seen to any homes as yet, which Butler credited to the lessons learned from the previous large fire at Pukaki Downs.

"The defensible spaces around the homes have been improved since then and this has prevented the fire spreading to homes."

State Highway 80 between the Lavender Farm and the intersection with State Highway 8 will remain closed today.