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Fire in Atawhai Nelson February 2009

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Published on Feb 8, 2009

Nine helicopters and 11 fire crews battled the blaze in the Dodson Valley, near suburban Atawhai, which burned through between 60 and 100 hectares before brought under control. By 9pm firefighters had the fire in Dodson Valley, near suburban Atawhai, almost under control and were confident they had it contained. Ninety to 100 residents were evacuated from their homes in the area while firefighters were battling the blaze.

Nine helicopters and 11 crews battled the blaze and more than 200 properties were evacuated this evening.
Between 60 and 100 hectares of scrub burned before firefighters were able to gain control of the blaze, southern fire communications shift manager Brian Sharpe told NZPA.

Rural Fire Force fire crews remained at the scene tonight dampening down any hotspots and the situation would be looked at in the morning, he said.

Evacuees were being sent to Founders Heritage Park in Nelson, where Civil Defence had set up.

Some of the evacuees were being allowed back into the lower Bay View Road area, said Inspector Alan Weston of police southern communications.

Mr Sharpe said the evacuation was a precaution; no property had been damaged and no one was injured.

However, a firefighter did suffer smoke inhalation. His condition was not known but he was not thought to be seriously injured.

A no-fly zone was declared in the area for all non-emergency aircraft.

A large plume of smoke was visible from the central city this afternoon, as firefighters fought to get the fire under control in breezy conditions. Firefighters were called out just before 4pm to the fire, at the top of Frenchay Drive.

The fire spread from gorse, to a pine plantation further up the hill.

Cars were parked along State Highway 6 at Atawhai as people drove out from Nelson to watch the fire, with the sky brown and filled with smoke.

Photos: Peter Buchanan
Description: Nelson Mail.... Description and information was a copy from The Nelson Mail....

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