Eleven helicopters and seven ground crews are battling a massive fire at Lake Ohau which has devastated the township destroying dozens of houses.
Fire and Emergency incident controller Graeme Still said the fire was burning over approximately 1600 hectares.
Sill flew over the fire ground on Sunday afternoon and estimated at least 20 homes have been damaged or destroyed in Lake Ohau Village.
Still said an Urban Search and Rescue team will be deployed to make a full assessment of the village.
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“All residents are accounted for, and we will have crews in the village overnight in case of any flare ups.
“Due to the high winds it has so far been unsafe for residents to return to their homes to assess damage. “I am very mindful of how upsetting it is for the residents. Their safety is our main concern at this time,” Still said.
Burned countryside near Lake Ohau as helicopters work to contain a blaze that has destroyed many homes.
Crews are working to steer the fire away from other structures and critical infrastructure, including the main power lines servicing Queenstown and Wanaka, he said.
High winds meant the fire had not yet been contained, and he said the situation could change rapidly with any shift in the wind, he said.
Two diggers and a grader were also being used to create firebreaks to help safeguard critical infrastructure.
Residents and holidaymakers fled in the middle of the night as the large forest fire bore down on the alpine village in the Waitaki District about 3am on Sunday. The blaze, the biggest of several burning around