Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Fires flare in warm weather

Photo / File
Photo / File

Rural firefighters say the pressure is still on as scrub fires continue to flare up in tinder-dry areas.

The Fire Service are tackling a blaze northeast of Raglan in the Waikato where a block of pine trees caught fire.

Fire crews were alerted at about 4pm and sent three appliances to the scene, along with a water tanker.

Fire Service spokeswoman Tania Matthews says firefighters have struggled to control the fire because it has been difficult to access water.

"There is a fire in pine trees approximately 80 by 80 metres and still trying and get it under control. There are hotspots, so it's not spreading at this stage.''

Another fire broke out in Northland with emergency services receiving a number of calls regarding a scrub fire at the Whangarei Falls earlier this afternoon.

Fire service spokesperson, Tania Matthews said two appliances were sent to the scene to try and get the blaze under control. Traffic was also redirected from the area.

A blaze which ripped through half an acre of south Auckland farmland last night was the latest in a series of scrub fires which prompted Auckland Council to impose a complete fire ban on the region.

Firefighters were called to a 200m by 200m fire on a farm in Parata Rd in Mangatawhiri, southeast of Bombay, about 10pm.

No buildings were threatened and the blaze was brought under control in less than an hour.

Rural firefighters were also kept busy overnight on Great Barrier Island, where flare-ups have continued since a massive blaze burned for several days this week.

Great Barrier principal rural fire officer Bryan Cartelle said there were a couple of minor flare-ups within the containment area overnight.

Firefighters were today mopping up in a burnt-out area near the airport and were working to cut and strengthen containment lines.

"The pressure is still on - it's drying up out there, so it's all caution."

Mr Cartelle said firefighters would be on the ground as long as they needed to be.

"We will have a similar number of crew for the next day or so ... we just need to keep the pressure on it."

Mr Cartelle thanked everyone who had given their support and helped transport equipment onto the island.

"It's very much appreciated and collectively, if we work together, we'll get through all this."

Fire Service national rural fire officer Murray Dudfield said people needed to be vigilant over the Auckland Anniversary weekend.

"People need to take care out in the forestry areas and comply with the restrictions and total fire bans that rural fire authorities have in place."

The dry weather was not likely to let up soon, he said.

"The seven day forecast is showing us there might be a little bit of rain, but that's not going to reduce the fire risk in the North Island and around Christchurch."

Mr Dudfield said it had been the worst fire season in four years.

Full and partial fire bans are in place in Auckland, central Hawkes Bay, Napier, Gisborne, Thames-Coromandel, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

Rural fire authorities across the North Island remain on a "briefing watch" and are monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

Yesterday, a scrub fire in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland forced the evacuation of an apartment block.

Residents returned to the Rossmay Terrace apartment building after firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to scan the outer wall to ensure there was no further fire danger.

The fire was near the western railway line, but did not affect trains.

Also yesterday, a large bush fire caused a landslip that closed a road between Papakura and Hunua Township, south of Auckland.

- APNZ

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