A man in his 40s was flown to hospital in a serious condition after receiving burns to his face, arms, chest, hands and throat in Helensville today.

He was taken to Middlemore Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter in a serious but stable condition.

A rescue helicopter spokesman said the man had lit a fire in a brazier which had been dug into the ground in a garden.

He said the man had filled the brazier with timber and other fuels, before adding petrol and lighting the fire.

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The spokesman believed the flames exploded, due to the use of petrol, and the man received burns to this hands, arms, face and chest.

He also received light burns to the back of his throat.