Temperatures soar in Hawke's Bay

By DOUG LAING

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Official temperatures in Hawke's Bay early last night appeared to have fallen just short of extreme predictions.

The hottest town was Wairoa, where the official temperature nudged 31C, although one driver reported 34C on a motor vehicle's gauge.

Napier and Hastings both peaked at just under 30C, when forecasts had been for 31C and 33C respectively, although temperatures in rural areas west of the twin cities soared well into the 30s.

Similarly, in Waipukurau, the maximum temperature was about 28C.

The Hawke's Bay summer that many are calling "the one I remember as a kid" was providing few dramas for on-alert fire authorities.

Two fires yesterday sparked particular warnings, although the incidents were far from the worst fears of firefighters.

In Southern Hawke's Bay, where a fire ban had been partially lifted, members of the Ormondville and Norsewood volunteer fire brigades extinguished a fire which had spread from a rubbish burn reported on a Kopua Rd dairy unit at 12.26pm.

More used to medical assistance and crash calls, six Ormondville volunteers and three from Norsewood with a tanker, all called from their homes or jobs, arrived to find a rubbish fire had leapt to grass nearby and tyres around a silage pit.

It was "pretty much in the open" and didn't pose an immediate threat to trees or structures, said Ormondville station officer Lyle Haste, but firefighters were at the scene for almost an hour ensuring there was no chance of re-ignition.

"A bit of scorched earth and one or two burnt tyres," Mr Haste said, "but it's a bit of a warning about the conditions at the moment."

Fire Service crews from Hastings were called at 12.40pm to a rubbish fire at an address in Swansea Drive, Flaxmere, but senior station officer Mike Peachey said that like several other calls during the hot weather it was reminding or alerting people that a fire ban was in force and seeing that the fire was doused.

Rural people appeared more alert to the fire risks, he said, adding: "Out of town a bit, there'd be rocks in your head. It does get away pretty quickly."

Thousands again flocked to beaches, rivers and public pools, but at one swimming complex there were concerns about a new "water pad" failing to do its job in the heat.

The water pad at the Napier Aquatic Centre was working intermittently, but staff were unable to explain why, although it was working early last night.

Temperatures into the low to mid-30s are forecast for today.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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