The Matukituki on a good day

The Matukituki Valley is about 40 minutes from Wanaka.  Once passed the turn off to the Treble Cone ski resort, the road continues through farmland, surrounded by snow capped mountains to a beautiful mountain valley. In this idyllic spot there was a fire today.

According to TV3, ” Wanaka fire crews have been dampening down hotspots after two farm burn-offs escalated out of control.

Forty firefighters were called to the burn-off in the Matukituki Valley which spread into the Department of Conservation’s Mt. Alta reserve.

The fire started yesterday afternoon as a controlled bracken burn-off on neighbouring West Wanaka Station.

Four helicopters with monsoon buckets also helped battle the blaze as it scorched 150 hectares of conservation land and threatened a nearby beech forest.

Just as the blaze was being brought under control, three more helicopters were called to second burn-off on the other side of Lake Wanaka at Mt. Burke Station.

The burn-off is seen by farmers as an essential farm management tool for controlling bracken and crop-stubble. But some say the pollution these fires create is unacceptable and that councils are turning a blind eye to them. However farmers argue that without the controlled burn-offs in spring, there would be even worse fires during the summer” – TV3

My roving reporter was skiing at Cardrona today, while the Pit Pony worked in Wanaka on her computer. Cardrona Valley and all of Lake Hayes was covered with smoke. In Wanaka it was a slightly overcast day but it wasn’t visible.

For the full story and a video clip, video