Some Poraiti residents who were forced from their homes due to Friday's scrub fire have realised the "volatility" of the area they live in.

In just six days two fires which ignited on either side of the same narrow Poraiti gully had residents calling for help.

Fire crews were called to a grass fire at Cato Rd on Sunday, January 10, just six days later 18 engines and 60 crew were needed to battle a larger scrub fire on Friday afternoon.

Plant Production spokeswoman Pauline Ware said there had not been a fire in the area for the 50 years her husband had lived at the Cato Rd address, "but in the space of just a week there were two".


"So it gives you an idea of the volatility of the grass in this area," she said.

Mrs Ware, who called the fire service to that first fire, said she was pleased she did not go to church that morning otherwise she would not have spotted the blaze.

"There aren't many people who have a view of that area, so people might not have seen it."

That fire was extinguished within 40 minutes. But the heat from Friday's fire had damaged the business' premises, including some plants.

She said four plant houses were destroyed, some roofs and plastic plant pots had melted and a number of plants were destroyed.

"It was a pretty frightening experience. We lost plants, and the poisons from the fire affects the plants days later because they will start deteriorating."

Hawke's Bay area commander Chris Nicholl said the cause of the fire was not yet known and a police report was needed before investigations could continue.

But it could now be confirmed it started on Oak Rd, and not on the side of Prebensen Drive as previously thought.

"It put at risk a large number of homes."

Mr Nicholl said the record heat and wind made the job difficult. One crew member was taken to hospital with heat exhaustion.

Adrian Kramer, who was evacuated from his home, said he called emergency services after seeing smoke.

"About three of us called - but then the power got cut, because that was another risk."

Houses along Oak Rd and in the immediate area were evacuated about 4pm and were not allowed back until about 8.30 that night.

"Until the appliances arrived it was a bit spooky - it's burnt through all the house boundaries."

Hawke's Bay fire services were called to three other small fires during the weekend, but all were small backyard fires.

A fire service spokesman said these were small and extinguished by the residents.

Mr Nicholl said: "People have seen the consequences of the vegetation fires in Australia, people need to be responsible for the fires that they light."