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Glenorchy road reopened as fire contained

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/01/2017

The road to the Otago township of Glenorchy, which was closed by a bush fire, has reopened, but motorists are being urged to proceed with caution.

The fire broke out at Rat Point late on Tuesday night and Queensland Lakes District Council says it looks to be largely under control.

The road was reopened on Wednesday afternoon, but then closed again for a period as strong winds reignited the flames.

The council says the flare-up has been contained and five helicopters are dampening down hot spots.

Fully extinguishing the fire could take three to five days because of the terrain.

The fire spread over 150 hectares of land, mostly native scrub and trees on steep slopes, and cut power to Glenorchy.

Delta engineers are assessing the power lines to establish how long it might take to get the power back on.

About 50 firefighters and eight helicopters with monsoon buckets have battled the blaze, which got to within 2.5km of houses, although evacuations have so far not been necessary.

The council says investigations into what caused the fire will begin on Thursday and it is too early to say how it started.

The Otago Rural Fire Authority has asked anyone with information to contact it.

Principal rural fire officer Phil Marsh says the fire danger in the Queenstown Lakes area is high and the incident is a sharp reminder of why open-air fires are currently banned.

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