Two crews of firefighters have arrived in the Chatham Islands to help tackle the huge scrub fire that’s been burning there since the beginning of the month.
The fire broke out on the first day of February and has ripped through about 2500 hectares of land.
The fire is contained, but it’s not fully extinguished and isn’t expected to be until at least the end of the month.
Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer, Glenn Thompson, says crews have been working incredibly long days and in trying conditions.
He says it’s important they get swapped out with other crews so they get the chance to have a break.
A team of five from Rotorua, along with another team from Taranaki, arrived in the Chatham Islands yesterday.
Another crew is flying in from Wellington tomorrow.
"The teams are made up of volunteers and career firefighters, so we’re really grateful to both their employers and their loved ones, who have allowed them to leave to assist us with the fire on the Chathams. It’s greatly appreciated."
The crews are expected to stay for at least a week and will work with the local council, land owners, helicopter pilots and Department of Conservation staff to help put out the fire.
"This is an ongoing fire, it’s a really deep burning fire and it’s extremely difficult to access, being in a very remote location. There are some deep-seated hotspots all around the fire perimeter, so it will take time and a lot of hard work to put it out."
He says bouts of rain have helped ease the fire, with about 35 millimetres falling recently.
However, thick fog blanketing the islands has at times forced a stop to the work the helicopter crews have been doing.
One firefighting crew from Wellington, which has been fighting the blaze since it began, is expected to fly back from the islands tomorrow and on Saturday.
"The conditions they’ve been dealing with have been pretty difficult," he says.
Mr Thompson says the firefighting response has been a huge team effort and he wants to thank all those involved.