Helicopters carrying monsoon buckets yesterday doused a series of scrub fires sparked by a downed power line in the Bay of Islands.

The first 111 call, for a roadside grass fire at the entrance to Bledisloe Domain in Haruru Falls, came in just before 1pm.

Local residents brought it under control with fire extinguishers and the Paihia Fire Brigade finished putting it out.

Forty minutes later, the brigade was called out again, but this time there were five scrub fires spread over more than 500m. All were under an 11,000 Volt power line supplying Haruru Falls and Waitangi.


With five fires that were immediately obvious, Paihia senior station officer Michael Fayne said his concern was how many others there might be.

There were also concerns about a strong, blustery wind, the fires' proximity to a plantation forest, and the possibility that the downed line was touching a fence.

Two fire engines from Paihia and one from Kerikeri responded, along with Kaikohe-based Rural Fire from and two Salt Air helicopters from Paihia.

A Top Energy crew got to work repairing the line as soon as the fire was out.

Top Energy networks manager David Worsfold said the line was turned off as a safety precaution as soon as the company was notified by the Fire Service.

The shutdown cut power to Haruru Falls and Waitangi, including the Copthorne Hotel.

Later the company was able to backfeed power to Waitangi so by 4pm, only 92 customers — all in the Haruru Falls area — were still without power.

Mr Worsfold said there was no indication at edition time yesterday why the line had come down. The linemen doing the repairs would report back what they had found, he said.