4.15pm Monday 27 December.
Ground crews and heavy machinery are working at three locations in the Kaimaumau / Waiharara area today, with three helicopters on standby.
Incident Controller John Sutton says about 35 people are on the fireground, plus eight machine operators. Heavy smoke has been hampering air operations today, but in other respects the conditions are better than yesterday as the high humidity is reducing the risk of further break-outs from the containment lines.
A specialist drone team from Fire and Emergency’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team has arrived in Kaimaumau and will be working overnight from tonight to carrying out thermal imaging. John Sutton says locals can expect to see the drones working between about 10pm and 4am.
A fresh Incident Management Team made up of Fire and Emergency and Department of Conservation personnel has taken over and planning is underway for the next two-to-three weeks of operations.
Mr Sutton is also reminding people to stay well away from the area, where hazards range from active fire to boggy ground conditions, and there are sensitive cultural and ecological features.
KIA KAHA KIA MAIA KI A KOUTOU: We never know what each day will bring, but as each day passes we know that we are so blessed with the hard work and hard won intelligence of our emergency services. No words are enough but it never hurts to say them anyway. To them all and to the residents close to the fire area, it’s times like these that bring out the best amongst us and you all are the best. God bless and keep you all.
EHARA TAKU TOA I TE TOA TAKITAHI, ENGARI HE TOA TAKITINI.