Fiery cowpats help large blaze burn

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A lack of wind enabled three helicopters and fire crews to contain a Te Hauke grass fire on Monday. Photo / Duncan Brown
A lack of wind enabled three helicopters and fire crews to contain a Te Hauke grass fire on Monday. Photo / Duncan Brown

Burning cowpats proved problematic at a large grass fire in Te Hauke, south of Hastings.

Three helicopters assisted Hastings District Council rural fire officers and Otane fire service to extinguish the blaze on Colin White Rd, near SH2, on Monday.

The fire, which started about 3pm, destroyed 5ha of deferred grazing - long grass held over from winter.

Hastings District Council principal rural fire officer Trevor Mitchell said the fire was not suspicious but the exact cause had yet to be determined.

The farmer moved his stock with the assistance of neighbours while the four-hour battle ensued.

Similar to a recent fire just two ridges away, sun-baked cowpats were a problem, he said.

"They just keep burning," Mr Mitchell said. "They are like Little Lucifers (fire starters)."

Three helicopters were called in to assist the firefighters on the ground.

"There was a quite a big dam quite close by, which was rather lucky."

He said if the helicopters had not been available "we might still be chasing it".

"We are just lucky there was not a lot of wind," Mr Mitchell said.

As the Hawkes Bay dry summer continued, he urged everyone to be vigilant for the possibility of fires.

"The message people need is to be very, very careful," he said.

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