At least 4,600 hectares of land were affected by the fire, which displaced more than 100 people from a village on the South Island.
Bushfires have destroyed dozens of homes in New Zealand, authorities said Monday, saying it was a miracle no one was injured when “an orange wall” fell on a remote village in the South Island.
The fire began early Sunday morning in a mountain forest and, fueled by strong winds, swept through the village of Lake Ohau, forcing residents to flee for their lives.
According to the New Zealand Fire Protection Agency, at least 4,600 hectares of land were affected by the fire on Monday, which also displaced more than 100 people.
“The strong winds meant the fire had not yet been contained and the situation could change rapidly with any movement of the wind,” said Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
“At this point, we are confident that the crews will have achieved 50 percent control over the scope of the fire by tomorrow evening,” he added on Monday.
The agency said up to 50 buildings were destroyed and conditions remained “challenging” on Monday. 11 helicopters and nine firefighters tried to contain the flames.
Lake Ōhau #Fire #NZ: This @ CopernicusEU Sentinel 2B satellite image shows the burned area and fire front (s) on Sunday, October 4th at 11:37 a.m. (NZDT). The dirty brown piece in the middle is burned. The bright orange is the hottest ground. Green is vegetation, cyan is snow (1/3) pic.twitter.com/Bo5DtwOr1L
– Todd Redpath (@toddrednz) October 5, 2020
The evaluation of the damage to houses was still in progress.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the tiny community on Lake Ohau had been devastated.
“Of the 60 or 70 houses we think the majority are gone,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“The reality is that it’s a small miracle no one got hurt. If it had been 15 to 20 minutes, it would have been a completely different story. “