Thursday, 26 November 2015

El-Nino conditions in New Zealand

NZ: Marlborough blaze still burning fiercely



26 November, 2015

A large forest fire in Marlborough is still burning fiercely, firefighters say - with its cost predicted to be at least $3 million.

The fire is continuing to rage this morning.The fire near Blenheim was continuing to rage this morning.
Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Marlborough Principal Rural Fire Officer Richard McNamara said the fire was very aggressive, moving swiftly through forestry harvest debris, mature pine trees and some native scrub in the Waikakaho Valley, north-west of Blenheim.

The fire had threatened several properties but losses had been confined to timber, vehicles and forestry equipment, he said.

He estimated property losses would be worth between $2m and $3m, with firefighting costs likely to be over $1m.

Police have been advising people in the Waikakaho Valley to leave and stay away overnight.

Half of the 24 houses in the valley have now been vacated but police said about 12 residents had chosen to stay at their own risk.

Five families were evacuated from their homes yesterday, and about 20 houses were without power overnight.

Helicopters with monsoon buckets were still working in rotation to contain the fire this afternoon, with a large number of ground crews assisting the effort.

Nine helicopters are fighting the forest fire in the Waikakaho Valley by air.Nine helicopters fought the forest fire in the Waikakaho Valley last night.
Photo: SUPPLIED / Grant Teichmann

About 60 firefighters were battling the fire this morning, with others on their way from Nelson and elsewhere to help.

"We've got a little bit of opportunity right through the early part of the morning to build in some containment lines and that's exactly what we'll be trying to do," Mr McNamara said earlier today.

"Essentially, it's just scrapping down to earth using bulldozers and diggers to form a clear earth line between active fire and fuel that is unburnt."
But people living near the valley should still be prepared to evacuate at any time, he said.

The cause of the fire remained unclear, but Sue Huddleston - the co-owner of a forestry block near the blaze - said she believed it started on a forestry skid site.
Mrs Huddleston said their forestry block - which occupied more than a couple of hundred hectares of land - was about eight or nine years from harvest.

They could only hope the block remained out of the fire's path, she said.

A large forest fire burning in the Waikakaho Valley near Blenheim on 25 November 2015. Smoke billows from the fire on Wednesday.
Photo: SUPPLIED / Carla Duffield

Nine helicopters were fighting the forest fire in the Waikakaho Valley by air on Wednesday 25 November 2015. Photo: SUPPLIED / Grant Teichmann

Nine helicopters were fighting the forest fire in the Waikakaho Valley by air on Wednesday 25 November 2015. Photo: SUPPLIED / Grant Teichmann



It's getting very dire in some parts of Australia. Look at these poor sheep in 44 degree heat!!



Meanwhile they are expecting snow in Tasmania

TRAGEDY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FIRES AS LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST


Via Facebook

Sad news our thoughts and hearts go out to friends and familes involved.

First it was the WA fires with 4 people dead now this.

- Two dead in South Australian fire with unconfirmed reports of a third person who has passed away.

- 85,000 hectares of cropping land on Wednesday, threatening a string of towns.

- The first involved a body found in a paddock at Pinery, near where the blaze started - the second was a person found dead in a car near Hamley Bridge.

- A more detailed assessment of property and stock losses was also expected with initial reports suggesting a number of homes and other buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed or damaged.

- Many roads were closed with power cut to about 20,000 properties at one stage.

More info... 
 
Photo: A bus was burnt out as the bushfire passed through. (ABC News: Tony Hill)



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