Dozens of Lake Ohau homes left in ashes by overnight fire | 1 NEWS

Lake Ohau Village has been largely turned to ash after a raging forest fire ripped through the area overnight. 

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Dozens of homes appear to have been burned in the fire near Lake Ohau.
Source: Gary Kircher

About 30 houses and as many cars are believed to have been destroyed in the on-going blaze after it blitzed through the Mackenzie Country village last night.

Just how the raging fire began is not yet known according to Civil Defence Minister Peni Henare.

Minister Henare says the situation is a matter of “wait and see” as to what extent the damage caused will be but there is no indication as to what may have triggered the fire.  

Several homes have been turned to ash after being engulfed in flames overnight.
Source: Supplied

“As of now, there is still no understanding of how the fire started at the moment. Pretty sure FENZ will be working to contain it in the first instance before looking at how it started

“Obviously at the moment, of course the focus is on saving people’s lives and saving people’s properties.” 

Two other fires have also erupted in the South Island this morning, fuelled by high winds which have fanned the flames and made them difficult to contain. 

Fire and Emergency says the Ohau fire is burning through pine forest and grass in the Mackenzie Basin, with 16 fire crews on the ground and five helicopters fighting it.

There is a mixture of shock and confusion among the more than 90 people who were evacuated from Ohau Village in the early hours of this morning. 

As a popular spot during the school holidays, many families were forced to flee their homes now needing to seek refuge inside the Twizel Events Centre.

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All residents accounted for, at least 20 homes damaged, in massive fire at Lake Ohau

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.

* Holidaymakers flee as fire engulfs homes in Lake Ohau
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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.

Charlie O’Mannin/STUFF

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.

The fire has devastated the Lake Ohau village.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

The fire has devastated the Lake Ohau village.

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

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