A grass fire in Havelock North on Saturday has highlighted the unseasonally dry conditions in Hawke's Bay as the region continues with some of the top temperatures throughout New Zealand over the weekend.

The fire was reported in a reserve off Lane Rd at 3.18pm, and was estimated to have spread over a small area before being extinguished by two crews from the Havelock North Volunteer Fire Brigade.

While it was a small area, it was one of several fires attended by fire brigades in Hawke's Bay over recent days, where grass or other vegetation fires had spread from the remains of other small fires.

One officer who attended said it was fortunate the fires had not caused significant damage, but it would take just one to "get away" and emergency services could be dealing with a disaster.


The potential was shown in the "unbelievable" Fort McMurray catastrophe in Canada, where almost 2500 buildings were destroyed and at least another 500 saw 88,000 people evacuated, in a fire which started on May 1 and is still burning.

"If we lost just one home here, we would be absolutely devastated," he said.

Napier and Hastings have been among the hottest three centres for three days in a row, Hastings being at the top on Saturday with a maximum temperature of 23.8C, and Napier had the highest yesterday with 23.6C, recorded about 2pm to 2.15pm. The temperatures were about 2C above those at the same stage of May last year.

Just 0.8mm of rain has been recorded this month at the Napier recording station at Hawke's Bay Airport, while 1.2mm has been recorded in Hastings - mere drops in the bucket of May averages of about 65mm.

Rainfall for the year in Hastings, Napier and at Mahia in the north is just two-thirds or less of the historic average for the year to date, while at the Takapau Plains recording station in Central Hawke's Bay it is about 90 per cent.

MetService predicts a "few" showers later today and early tomorrow, a return to fine weather midweek, and a deterioration towards next weekend with possibly the first serious rain. Some areas west of the central North Island were being forecast to have thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, fire services dealt with several other incidents in Hawke's Bay during the weekend, including a fire which destroyed a garage on a suburban residential property in Napier. The fire at a property in Hillary Cres, Maraenui, was reported at 9.24pm on Saturday.