Happy Valley fire could smoulder for days

Fire crews are keeping a close eye on a large scrub fire in Wellington ahead of a possible wind change threatening to spread the blaze.

The overnight fire covered about 50ha in Happy Valley, close to the city's landfill, endangering up to 30 houses and forcing the evacuation of up to 70 residents today.

It was brought under control this morning but is expected to smoulder for several days.

Several appliances and firefighters remained at the scene working on the blaze and on standby as a change of wind direction expected today could spread it further, a Fire Service central communications spokesman said.

Three helicopters with monsoon buckets were used to fight the fire, said Fire Service assistant area manager for Wellington Brett Lockyer.

"At the height of the fire there was a lot of work and it was a fast-burning fire but at this stage there's been a change in wind direction which has assisted us, moving the fire away from the houses, and the fire crews are making good progress.

It is safe to say the fire is under control."

The blaze is thought to have started about 2am.

The cause is being investigated.

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Meanwhile, a large scrub fire in Northland has been contained by crews overnight.

The blaze at on Okahukura Rd, Tapora, west of Wellsford, had been contained with fire breaks to 70ha overnight, northern fire communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said.

Fresh firefighters were at the scene this morning.

Elsewhere, four scrub fires on the same street near Hamilton overnight are being treated as suspicious.

Emergency services were called to the first blaze that covered a 2ha area on Old Mountain Rd in Karamu, west of the city, at 4.30am.

Two further smaller fires in the same street followed soon after, Fire Service northern communications shift manager Jarron Philips said.

Fire investigator Peter Hallett said fire crews then discovered a fourth blaze on the road.

"We're investigating these, they appear to be deliberate and we'll be involving the New Zealand police in our investigation," he said.

Eight appliances worked to extinguish the blazes and some crews remain at the scene dampening down

Fire investigators are also at the scene.

- APNZ

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