The Hawke's Bay public are being urged to keep an eye on the proximity of vegetation to powerlines after a large fire in Bridge Pa appeared to have been caused by a power line arcing in strong winds.
Unison power lines company relationship manager Danny Gough said the large grass fire on Raukawa Rd in Bridge Pa on Sunday was caused by power lines coming into contact with vegetation.
"It can cause a flame that will drop to the ground and with the ground being so tinder dry it doesn't take much to start a fire," he said.
Central Fire Communications shift manager Jan Wills said emergency services were called to the fire on Raukawa Rd in Bridge Pa at 2.28pm and didn't leave the property until 9pm.
The fire, which was initially reported at 2ha, grew to 12ha in the windy conditions as gusts of up to 100km/h were felt throughout exposed areas in the region.
A Raukawa Rd resident, who wished to remain unnamed, said Sunday's fire burned right around his property with an intensity that melted a downpipe attached to the side of the house.
"We heard the arcing and then it was evident the dry grass was on fire beneath the powerlines," he said.
He said the fire then spread "like lightning" as his family and the animals evacuated the house while neighbours, and even passers-by, stopped to help control the blaze.
"It's a miracle our house didn't burn down," he said.
The Raukawa Rd resident said the direction of the wind and the green agapanthus surrounding the house appeared to steer the fire around the house.
"The only thing we want to put out there is how lucky we are that our house didn't burn down and the fact that we're so grateful to everyone who helped out," he said.
Mr Gough said Unison relies on the public to monitor the proximity of vegetation to powerlines and encouraged anyone with power line concerns to contact Unison immediately.
"The key message to the public is that when people are out and about and notice trees close to lines to let Unison know," he said.
Ms Wills said the Bridge Pa fire was "pretty full on" and was attended by one command unit, four tankers, five rural units, 16 pumps and three vans.
Mr Gough said the dry, windy weather conditions on Sunday made it a "challenging" day.
"It was obviously a very hectic day for our team with the amount of call outs in the region and downed lines were complicated by fires and concerns for safety," he said.
Mr Gough said Unison crews worked until it was dark on Sunday night and he was happy to report that all power was restored to those who experienced power outages.
While the fire threatened neighbouring properties Ms Wills said there had been no reports of any structural damage.
One rural truck was at the scene yesterday morning dampening hot spots and neighbours were keeping an eye on the area.
MetService meteorologist April Clark said yesterday's wind conditions were "not remarkable" compared to the gusts on Sunday, which peaked at 160km/h in Mahia.
Today's weather forecast predicts a fine day with a high of 22C in Napier and light sea breezes.
There is currently a total fire ban in place throughout Hawke's Bay, no outdoor fires of any type may be lit.
All permits previously permitted are currently suspended.
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