Two helicopters and 45 firefighters were used to contain a blaze on a forestry skid site in Northland which started from internal combustion.

A reduced team with one helicopter remained at the site on Radar Hill, midway between Wainui Bay and Tauranga Bay in the Far North, yesterday in order to stop it spreading through a pine forest.

The blaze was reported about 6pm and was one of two skid site fires that started on Thursday with the other being contained by a crew on Pouto Peninsula after it was sparked mid-afternoon.

A forestry crew also remained at the Pouto site and an investigation was being carried out to determine the cause of that fire.

Salt Air helicopters were used to contain fire at Radar Hill. Photo / Cavalli Rural Fire Brigade
Salt Air helicopters were used to contain fire at Radar Hill. Photo / Cavalli Rural Fire Brigade

Northland principal fire officer Myles Taylor said the fire at Radar Hill illustrated how dry conditions were in the region.

"Conditions are still very, very dry and this skid site once it really got going it would nearly be impossible to stop because it was so deep seated. The logs and slash don't have any moisture in them internally," Taylor said.

"It's so deep seated we will just monitor it closely and let itself burn out which could take days."

The effort included volunteers from Cavalli Rural Fire Brigade, Kaeo, Mangonui, Kerikeri, Karikari Fire Brigade, Kaikohe Rural Fire Brigade and Whangārei Canteen Unit.

Two helicopters from Salt Air in Kerikeri were also used to dump monsoon buckets of water on the fire site.

Taylor also urged people to hold off lighting outdoor fires during the Covid-19 lockdown.

He acknowledged people were trying to clean up their properties while they had more time at home but they should not light unnecessary fires to burn household rubbish or garden waste.

"Hold off getting a permit and lighting an outdoor fire until the lockdown is over to keep safe and keep our people safe."


With more "eyes and ears" at home if people saw smoke they were reporting it which meant volunteers were having to come out of their lockdown bubble.

"Going to a callout creates an opportunity for exposure and what we are trying to do is stop that. "

He said while containing the fire at Radar Hill volunteers had to try and maintain separation, they had to wear personal protection equipment and keep gear sanitised.

"If there is a fire we will respond and do the right thing for the community but we are asking the community to help us restrict what we have to do."

Fire restrictions have eased in Whangārei and part of the Far North — but a total ban remains in place in tinder-dry Kaipara and all areas north of Taipa.

The prohibited fire season, which had been in force since January 13, was lifted March 18 in the Whangārei district and zone 2 of the Far North.


Zone 1, which includes all areas north of Taipa and Herekino Harbour, including the Aupōuri and Karikari peninsulas, remains under a total fire ban.

Despite the easing of restrictions, fire permits are still required in Whangārei and the southern half of the Far North.

Permits are free and can be obtained via