Kapiti Island Fire

DSCF0549-2Firemen winched onto ridge to fight blaze on bird sanctuary island

By Alan Tristram/ Photos by Karl Webber

Rural fire officers winched from a helicopter into dense bush have succeeded in preventing a potential disastrous blaze on Kapiti Island.

The blaze in an inaccessible area on a ridge at the southern end of the island was first spotted from an aircraft flying over the bird sanctuary early this afternoon.DSCF0525

It’s thought the blaze may have been started by a lightning strike in a thunderstorm last Thursday, then smouldered before breaking out again today.The Paraparaumu Fire Brigade say a rural fire crew and DOC workers were taken to the isolated spot and then winched  into dense bush to fight the blaze with equipment which was also winched in.

DSCF0544-1They flew to Kapiti Island  from Paraparaumu Airport in a Helipro helicopter which was later used to carry monsoon buckets with water to dampen the blaze, which was finally brought under control late this afternoon.

The brigade say luckily the fire was confined to an area of about five square metres. Burnt ash indicated it had been smouldering for some time.

Another lucky aspect, the brigade says, is that the fire took place now rather than in the tinder-dry months in the New Year.

DOC workers will be flown back to the ridge at first light tomorrow morning to check on the fire site.