Spate of fires sparked by dryness, wind

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There's nothing like a sunny day on Napier's Marine Parade to bring out the family and for enjoying fish and chips beneath a shade cloth, as yesterday's temperature hovered near the 21C maximum for the city for the day. Photo / Duncan Brown
There's nothing like a sunny day on Napier's Marine Parade to bring out the family and for enjoying fish and chips beneath a shade cloth, as yesterday's temperature hovered near the 21C maximum for the city for the day. Photo / Duncan Brown

Small fires at the weekend again highlighted the unseasonably dry conditions continuing in Hawke's Bay.

Of the 15 calls answered by the Fire Service in Hawke's Bay during the weekend up to 6pm last night, at least six involved rubbish, leaves or other vegetation.

Napier crews were called to a small fire among leaves in a Maraenui alley soon after 5pm on Saturday, a fire near the Marewa shops about five hours later, and a fire on the beach near Awatoto at 1.22am yesterday.

The Waipawa Volunteer Fire Brigade attended a small fire in Abbotsford Rd soon after 10.20pm, and the Hastings brigade late yesterday morning answered a called to a fire in autumn leaves at Splash Planet and soon afterwards, along with Haumoana volunteer firefighters, answered a call to a small grass fire at Clifton.

While some of the fires may have been deliberately lit, a Fire Service spokesman said some of the incidents highlighted the dryness and the potential with wind.

"It's not a good idea to leave ashes unattended or without ensuring they have been extinguished," he said.

Peak temperatures in Hawke's Bay remained over 20C, with Napier Airport having the hottest temperature recorded by MetService nationwide on Saturday at 21.4C.

It was also among the hottest yesterday, reaching almost 21C early in the afternoon, while a temperature of 22.2C was reported in Wairoa by the town's weather website.

The peak temperatures were about 7C higher than the peaks of the last week of May last year.

With little or no rain during the weekend, despite a forecast for rain on Saturday, and no worse than showers over the next two days, Napier and Hastings rainfall for the month was expected to be less than a third of the May average, while at Mahia it was expected to be less than 10 per cent of the May average.

Rain on central North Island ranges, including the Tararua, Ruahine and Kaweka divide, is forecast to be no lower than 1200m.

The highest point in Kaweka Range is Kaweka J at 1724m, and the bushline varies from 1000m to 1300m.

While some showers are forecast later this week, a longer-term calculation suggests rain soon after Queen's Birthday Weekend, possibly the most significant in the region from Waipukurau north in more than two months.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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