Firefighters remain at devastating Whitianga blaze quelling multiple hot spots

Firefighters expect to be at the scene of last week's devastating Whitianga blaze for another two weeks.  Photo / Supplied
Firefighters expect to be at the scene of last week's devastating Whitianga blaze for another two weeks. Photo / Supplied

Firefighters are still dampening down hot spots more than a week after a devastating blaze destroyed bush and homes south of Whitianga.

Although the huge bush fire is out, thermal imaging has revealed 21 hot spots smouldering across the scorched hillside.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council said a helicopter flew over the devastated peninsula identifying the areas that could possibly flare up.

A fire crew would remain on site to put out hot spots.

"Rural Fire will continue to monitor for at least the next two weeks to make sure there is no possibility of reignition," said principal rural fire officer Paul Shaw.

The huge bushfire, which started last Tuesday on Comers Rd, ripped through 70ha of native bush and scrub 5km south of Whitianga, fanned by strong winds.

A number of properties were destroyed, including the Wilderland community, which was razed during the overnight inferno.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A Givealittle page has raised more than $8500 for the sustainable living community to get back on its feet.

A mayoral relief fund was also set up for those affected by the bushfire to help meet needs not already addressed by other support services.

Meanwhile a total fire ban has been extended across the tinder-dry region until further notice.

It covered all land within the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Council areas including Department of Conservation reserves and the forests owned by Ernslaw One, Matariki Forests and CFG NZ Company Ltd.

The ban included land clearing fires, rubbish fires, beach fires, domestic fireworks, sky lanterns, braziers, open-top incinerators, traditional cooking and hangi fires.

The council said gas-fuelled cookers and barbecues were exempt on private and public properties providing weather conditions were favourable and they were operated by an adult.

The neighbouring Matamata-Piako district is under a restricted fire ban.

- NZ Herald

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