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.
“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.