Far North firefighters will today send up a drone fitted with a thermal-imaging camera to search for hotspots still smouldering after last week's massive fire on the Karikari Peninsula.
Yesterday's heavy rain meant weary firefighters could take a break for the first time since a car crash on Thursday afternoon brought down powerlines and triggered the 130ha blaze at the southern end of the peninsula.
Northland principal rural fire officer Myles Taylor said a Department of Conservation crew spent Monday patrolling the area between Inland Rd, Ramp Rd and Tokerau Beach and putting out flare-ups.
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All fire crews were stood down yesterday but some would be back in action tomorrow to tackle any deep-seated hotspots identified by the drone.
Taylor welcomed the rain but said it didn't mean Northland's fire danger was over.
"I'm pleased it'll give our volunteers a couple of days' rest, but when the wind picks up again it'll dry out very quickly. The rain won't have any functional effect on fire conditions."
The fire burnt around both sides of Lake Rotopotaka, also known as Coca-Cola Lake, and threatened six houses at the Tokerau Beach end of Ramp Rd. Five occupied at the time were evacuated.
Meanwhile, DOC staff have been checking the area for any effects on wildlife.
Meirene Hardy-Birch, acting operations manager for DOC's Kaitaia office, described the area around Lakes Ohia and Rotopotaka as a "wonderful wetland" supporting breeding populations of northern New Zealand dotterel, banded dotterel, Australasian bittern, banded rail and North Island fernbird, as well as a number of orchids.
The area's lakes were studded with fossil kauri tree stumps while dry lake beds showed signs of gum-digging and ancient remains of kauri forest, she said.