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Defence Force joins Coromandel fire fight

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/01/2017
<p>New Zealand Defence Force</p> © SNPA/Ross Setford

New Zealand Defence Force

Defence Force firefighters are being sent to battle a blaze in the Coromandel Peninsula that continues to burn days after it destroyed 24 homes and outbuildings in a local commune.

The scrub fire has burnt more than 100 hectares of bushland south of Whitianga as well as causing extensive damage to the Wilderland Community.

The firefighters - four from the Army and one from the Airforce - New Zealand Defence Force Major General Tim Gall said.

"Our firefighters have vast experience here and overseas in fighting bushfires," he said.

"We will do our best to assist the local community in Whitianga and hope that our firefighting crew will be able to help get the blaze under control soon."

The blaze started on Tuesday night and was fanned by strong south-westerly winds.

As well as six homes and various outbuildings the blaze also destroyed the commune's orchards.

Thames-Coromandel District Council Mayor Sandra Goudie said council staff were assessing how residents of the community, which promotes sustainable living, could be helped.

A mayoral fund has been set up to raise money, while a page has also been established.

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