Fireworks may have started a blaze which threatened three Northland homes in the early hours of 2020.

The fire started in scrub at Waiotemarama Rd, near Ōpononi on South Hokianga, just minutes after midnight.

Volunteer firefighters from Ōmapere and Rawene, backed up by a crew from Kaikohe and a water tanker from Kerikeri, managed to save the houses.

They finally extinguished the blaze and went home about 8am yesterday.
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Kaikohe fire chief Bill Hutchinson said the burnt area was not large, about half a hectare, but three houses were at risk.

''If there had been a wind change, or the wind had got up, we would have been really concerned,'' he said.

The homes were not evacuated.

The cause had not been determined at edition time yesterday but the timing suggested fireworks. An investigation is under way.

The rest of the day brought no relief for stretched firefighters with another serious scrub fire at Houhora reported about 12.10pm yesterday.

Fire crews were dispatched from Houhora and Kaitaia along with three helicopters equipped with monsoon buckets.

The flames were travelling uphill near East Beach, south of Pukenui, with the wind behind them, conditions likely to cause a rapid spread.

By 3pm firefighters had contained the 2ha fire. One chopper was still working with the other two on standby in case of flare-ups. The cause was not yet known.


All of Northland is currently in a restricted fire season. Houhora, along with the rest of the Aupōuri Peninsula, is subject to year-round restrictions due to its high fire risk.