Fire investigators in Piha are now waiting for results following the completion of forensic examinations.

Just after 2pm, police said they were still working to establish the cause of the spate of fires in the area, which have many locals worried.

Police said they were following some "positive lines of inquiry."

"We appreciate the community is understandably upset and police are determined to hold the person/s who is responsible for these fires to account.''

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Officers remain in the area today and there will also be a strong police presence overnight.

Series of suspicious fires

It started just over a week ago, when police were alerted to a number of small scrub fires on the Tasman View Track on Monday night.

Just over 24 hours later, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, another spate of fires was reported on the Marawhara Walk Track at North Piha.

Soon after, fire crews became aware of two more fires on Lion Rock and a third on the embankment at the intersection of Marine Parade South and Beach Valley Rd.

Later that day police described the fires as suspicious and appealed for help from the public.

The apparent firebug, or firebugs, took a break.

It was to be a brief respite.

The situation escalated with a vengeance overnight on Sunday.

Adey's Place fish and chip shop in Piha was destroyed by a fire Police and the Fire Service are treating as suspicious. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Adey's Place fish and chip shop in Piha was destroyed by a fire Police and the Fire Service are treating as suspicious. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A trio of suspicious fires were lit, one destroying Adey's Place and two more in the hills above Piha forcing one home to be evacuated and residents of others to go on standby.

Almost 100 firefighters were needed to battle the blazes.

Today, the police investigation was obvious to all - detectives crowded Adey's Place, marked police cars cruised past tourists and city-escapee surfers, and fire investigation utes were dotted around the town.

In a statement, police said a scene examination had been done, forensic investigations were underway and they were following leads.

Anyone with information was told to call Waitakere CIB on (09) 837 9511 or, anonymously, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police can expect a few calls. This community of around 600 permanent residents is watching.

Down at the camping ground, Anderson gives two reasons for sleeping in her car.

"I'm really, really concerned that, number one, I might get burnt to death sleeping in my own bed, no one wants that for themselves, but number two is that you know maybe this person walks through the camping ground."

The hardest realisation was that, she believed, the person or persons responsible were from the area.

"Their knowledge of the tracks, their knowledge of the area. This person is one of us."

Piha resident Melodie Batchelor has also heard much talk about the fires - a mixed blessing.

Piha resident Melodie Batchelor is concerned after a recent spate of suspicious fires in the area. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Piha resident Melodie Batchelor is concerned after a recent spate of suspicious fires in the area. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"Everybody's got a story and that's really good, because we have to share those stories. We all want to know things.

"But on the other hand it sets up a bit of 'who did it, who's to blame?' It starts you being worried about anybody you don't know ... it's negative if it makes us perhaps think someone did it, when they didn't."

At The Store, owner Peter Chapman was today discouraging customers from sharing their thoughts on the subject.

The former volunteer firefighter would rather talk about how Auckland Council can take advantage of the fire on the hills behind Piha to build a reservoir for future fire-fighting efforts.

"Hey bro, let's be tight, look out for each other and report anything you perceive as suspicious."

Up on Beach Valley Rd, Piri Wano described the fires as an "abuse" that she feared could turn deadly.

"They're abusing our home. They could kill somebody, ay?"

And yet, if not for increase in emergency services' uniforms in the town and the charred remains of Adey's, a visitor could be forgiven for thinking the only thing the community has to fear is a change in the weather.

Across Piha's famously baking hot sand, the sea is sparkling.

It's a near bluebird afternoon as surfers bob over the 1.5-2 metre swell and two dozen or so souls on the shore enjoy vast stretches of beach to themselves.

It's a pearl of a day.

But then the night comes.