A large blaze sparked by fireworks which burnt through scrub in Ruakaka caused a family to evacuate their home and another to rush home from New Year's Eve celebrations to make sure their dog and house were safe.
At about 10pm on New Year's Eve a fireworks-related fire burned through 600sq m of scrub in Peter Snell Rd. One family on the road were alerted to the blaze when they heard someone banging on their door.
"They were banging and initially I thought there might have been a car accident because it wasn't just a knock on your door," said Tabitha Kaiser, who was staying with her friend Victoria Rudman.
When they were told about the fire Ms Kaiser, her three children along with Ms Rudman - who is eight months' pregnant - and her daughter had to evacuate the property.
"It was panic so we took the kids and grabbed the school laptop and insurance papers, and the boys stayed here to watch the house and make sure the chickens were safe. We came back later and were freaked out," said Ms Rudman.
The group said about 10 minutes earlier they had heard fireworks going off and remembered thinking it was silly considering how dry it had been in Northland.
On the other side of the bush on Tamure Place, a couple who lived within metres of the reserve were called home by a friend.
"We were around the corner at a friend's and we heard the fireworks go off, and then we got the call from a mate who said the whole hill was on fire. It's always been a concern that hill, so we got up and rushed straight home," said Donna Walker. Ms Walker, her daughter and her partner Steven Finney all returned home.
Ms Walker said she was worried about her dog and the flames spreading to the house.
"When we got home we found out the neighbours had done the good neighbourly thing and brought the dog to their house. The smoke was coming through the dryer vent because we don't have a dryer, and the fire guys told us to move our gas bottles," she said.
The neighbours had also grabbed the hose and wet down the bank. Two fire units from Ruakaka, two from Waipu, one from Portland and one from Whangarei attended the fire and the crews remained at the scene until about midnight to ensure there were no hot spots remaining. Both families said they were grateful for the work the fire crews did.