Twenty firefighters battled a rural scrub fire in the Pongaroa district after strong winds caused smouldering stumps to flare up and burn.

The fire, between Pahiatua and Pongaroa, had first been lit some time ago, Tararua rural principal fire officer Paddy Driver said. "It flared up again last Friday and was put out, but the stumps smouldering underground flared again yesterday morning in the very strong winds."

Fire crews from Herbertville, Weber, Pongaroa and Tiraumea answered the 6.15am alarm and had the fire under control and extinguished by 10am.

"This fire brings a very strong message to people out there about burning and leaving your fire in these very strong winds. There are still people out there lighting fires in these conditions, it's crazy," Mr Driver said.


Yesterday afternoon, after returning from Pongaroa, Mr Driver was called to assess a fire situation at Piripiri.