Range of personnel deployed to help battle large Chatham Islands fire

Specialist fire crews have been flown to the Chatham Islands to help volunteers fight a large blaze in a remote part of the main island.

The fire is now burning over 2000 hectares, but residents have been able to return home. Source: 1 NEWS

The fire, which started on Thursday morning, has burned through an estimated 2000ha at Owenga Road, south of Waitangi Wharf, in the south.

Fire conditions eased overnight thanks to much needed rain and more rain is expected over night, along with a northerly wind shift. 

Residents along Waitangi Wharf - Owhenga road were able to return to their homes this morning after they were evacuated due to fears the wind strength could increase overnight.

A helicopter and 17 fire fighters will join eight volunteers already on the island tomorrow. Source: 1 NEWS

Principal Rural Fire Officer Craig Cottrill said 14 Fire and Emergency New Zealand crew members would fly to the Chathams today to help tackle the blaze.

This included two teams of five specialist rural firefighters and four management specialists, who boarded a charter aircraft with fuel, equipment and supplies for a two-week deployment.

Two helicopters with monsoon bucket capacity were also set to arrive on the island early this afternoon.

They will join eight fire volunteers, four Department of Conservation staff, and three local contractors working to contain the fire.

On Friday a Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules also flew to the islands to conduct an aerial survey of the fire.

The Chathams are about 800km east of New Zealand and are home to about 600 people.