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Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Fire and Emergency NZ is planning for an extended response to the large fire burning in a significant wetland at Awarua, south of Invercargill.
The fire extends from the head of Awarua Bay to the Waituna Wetlands, an area of over 1000 hectares.
Nine helicopters and four ground crews are working on the fire. Incident Controller Mark Mawhinney says they will be on site until dusk and will return at daylight tomorrow. Awarua Bay Road has been closed to the public and people are asked to stay away from the area.
The fire is burning in peat and much of the fireground is difficult to access on foot. Crews are likely to be working for a fortnight or more to fully extinguish the deep-seated fire.
Mr Mawhinney says that the forecast is for a change in wind direction tomorrow, with easterly gusts up to 45 knots. Today the aircraft and crews are concentrating on containing the fire, to reduce the risk that it could spread further into unburnt fuel.
Fire and Emergency is liaising closely with Iwi and with the Department of Conservation, which manages the area affected by the fire.
Dean Whaanga, Kaiwhakahaere for Awarua Rūnaka, says that Awarua-Waituna is significant to Ngāi Tahu whānau and to the local community. “We are thankful for the quick response from Fire and Emergency as they go about protecting this special place and the taonga species that live there.”
Awarua-Waituna is one of New Zealand’s largest remaining coastal wetland systems, one of five significant wetlands in DOC’s national Awarai Kākāriki wetlands restoration programme. It is home to many wading birds and other species.
Fire and Emergency has already declared a prohibited fire season for all of Southland because of the continuing dry weather.