Dozens of homes razed in New Zealand bushfires

Bushfires swept through the small community of Lake Ohau on New Zealand's South Island

New Delhi (NVI): Bushfires have destroyed dozens of homes in New Zealand, authorities said on Monday, saying it was a miracle no one was hurt when “a wall of orange” descended on a remote South Island village.

The blaze began in a mountain forest early on Sunday morning and, fanned by strong winds, swept through the village of Lake Ohau, forcing residents to flee for their lives.

According to the New Zealand fire emergency agency on Monday, at least 4,600 hectares (11,366 acres) of land were affected by the blaze, which also displaced more than 100 people.

“The high winds meant the fire could not yet be contained and the situation may change rapidly with any shift in the wind,” Fire and Emergency New Zealand said.

The agency said up to 50 structures were destroyed and conditions remained “challenging”, with 11 helicopters and nine fire crews attempting to contain the flames.

Firefighters are using helicopters and ground crews to contain the fire on Monday, aiming to keep it away from electricity infrastructure despite high wind warnings.

Damage assessment was still underway.

-CHK