Firefighters are worried about the number of suspicious fires in the Far North this year and are urging the public to report any suspicious activity as soon as possible to protect their communities.

There have been about 20 suspicious fires so far this year, including one of Saturday that destroyed a bach at Ahipara.

Dave Ross, Chief Fire Officer for the Ahipara Volunteer Fire Brigade, said it was a worry that there have been so many suspicious blazes in the Kaitaia/Ahipara area so far this year.

''I reckon, with the car fires, there's been at least 20 so far this year in the Kaitaia/Ahipara area, and that's way too many,'' Ross said.


His brigade got a call-out about 6.40pm on Saturday to reports of a home on fire at Ahipara and as the crew drove down Foreshore Rd they could see the flames and glow in the distance so knew it was well aflame.

Access was challenging as entry was by means of Shipwreck Bay Rd and then the beach itself, the property being on the hill above the northern end of the beach.

Some neighbours were already there trying to put the flames out. The Ahipara crew started fighting the flames from the outside until a crew from Kaitaia arrived and fought the blaze from inside using breathing apparatus. After about an hour the blaze was brought under control, but not before flames threatened nearby baches, which also had to be protected by the firefighters. It was all out after about 90 minutes.

Firefighters at a blaze that destroyed a home at Ahipara on Saturday night. Photo /Supplied
Firefighters at a blaze that destroyed a home at Ahipara on Saturday night. Photo /Supplied

Ross said the home had no electricity connected and there was nobody at home at the time.

''It was another suspicious fire that the police and fire investigators are looking into,'' he said.

As well as being time consuming and a threat to property, suspicious fires could also be dangerous for those in the area and those fighting the flames.

Fire and Emergency investigator Roy Brickell said the number of suspicious fires was a real concern,and while some of them will have been pure accidents, some may not have been.

''I'm not suggesting there's an arsonist around, or anything like that, but these fires have the potential to put innocent lives at risk,'' Brickell said.


''Police have some people to speak to (about Saturday's fire) and I think they have handled the situation (over the suspicious fires) really well. But it's important that people report any suspicious activities in their area as soon as possible.

''Ring 111 and ask for police if it's suspicious activity or Fire and Emergency if it's a fire. It's important people do that to protect themselves and their community. We don't want innocent people hurt.''

"Saturday's fire was the third serious house fire in Ahipara in less than four months.

On April 22 a home was destroyed on Foreshore Rd in a blaze started by an electrical fault in the switchboard.

On August 2 a house was destroyed and another dwelling on the same property, also on Foreshore Rd, was badly damaged in a blaze which threatened to spread to neighbouring homes. That blaze is thought to have started when strong winds blew embers from a fire for an outdoor bath under the house, igniting stored building materials.

A suspicious fire on the Karikari Peninsula in 2011 led to the deaths of two of those tasked with helping put it out.

Pilot John 'Prickles' de Ridder (69) and William Macrae (54) died when the helicopter they were in crashed into the sea while participating in the firefighting efforts.

The two men died when they went to assess the situation of people trapped on the beach by advancing flames, and who had called 111.

Nobody has been held accountable for that fire.