The man who took responsibility for an accidental blaze that ripped through an estimated 20ha of Far North scrub and bush says it's a warning to all about current dry conditions.
The blaze started about 12.20pm on Sunday on Ngakaroa Rd, off Roma Rd, inland from Ahipara.
Rueben Taipari Porter said the blaze began accidentally as a small rubbish fire. It spread into kikuyu and was out of control within minutes.
As the landowner Porter said he was responsible for the blaze and called the fire brigade immediately.
Principal rural fire officer Myles Taylor said the fire was patchy over a large area but had posed a considerable threat to a number of houses.
At least three and as many as eight houses were evacuated.
"Without the suppression that we were able to apply those houses would certainly have been lost," Taylor said.
"The fire intensity was some of the worst I have seen in Northland in 10 years, particularly at this time of year."
Two helicopters supported firefighters from Ahipara, Kaitaia, Houhora, Karikari, Paihia and Kerikeri, but struggled to control the blaze. The tide started to turn only when two more helicopters arrived about 5pm.
Taylor said it was fortunate there was a small dam nearby the helicopters could take water from.
Smoke could be seen from Kaitaia, 15km away. Firefighters closed Ngakaroa Rd to stop well-intentioned but ultimately unhelpful members of the public from offering to assist.
Porter said he had been surprised by just how dry his whānau land was, given its heavy clay loam soil that was normally wet at this time of year.
"Everybody needs to take this fire as an example of what summer is going to be like," he said.
"A fire ban should be declared before Labour Weekend. The ground and bush are so dry and rivers are still so low."
Deputy principal rural fire officer Clinton Lyall said mopping up was continuing on Monday with 15 members of Kaitaia-based Far North Roading's forestry crew on the ground along with a digger and bulldozer to cut fire breaks and create access.
''It's an indication of just how dry and vulnerable things are,'' he said.
The fire risk was likely to get worse with no serious rain on the horizon for at least the next 10 days.
He urged Northlanders to be extra vigilant with fires, even if they lived in an area with an open fire season.
People should keep the area around fires clear and monitor fires all day until they were out.
Taylor said the fire was within Zone 1 where fire permits were needed year round but the fire that started Sunday's blaze had an exemption.
The situation was complicated by the presence of a number of significant archaeological sites in the area where the bulldozer was working so a kaumātua was being consulted in the hope of avoiding damage.
Porter thanked the many fire brigades, helicopter companies and St John, as well as Roma, Wainui and Manukau marae for allowing firefighters and evacuees to use their facilities.