A crash between a truck and ute on State Highway 1 at Whangārei yesterday did not cause any injuries, but left traffic disrupted on both sides of the crash scene. There were no injuries in the collision, which happened about 1pm yesterday, but traffic was tailed back on both sides of the scene, just near the Gull Service Station for more than an hour. The crash partially blocked with the northbound lane and traffic banked up for about 2km on both sides while the accident was dealt with.
Second suspicious fire
A second suspicious fire an as many weeks has swept through 2ha of scrub and pine at Horeke in South Hokianga. The blaze started about 11am on Thursday opposite the recycling station on Rangiahua Rd, the same location as the previous fire. Volunteer crews from Ōkaihau and Kerikeri brigades tackled the fire initially along with three helicopters using monsoon buckets. A digger was also deployed to cut fire breaks. A forestry fire crew was back at the scene on Friday to finish dousing hotspots. Fire and Emergency NZ is investigating.
Swimming spots tested
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Northland swimming spots have improved since the last round of testing with the December 30 results declaring only Kerikeri River at the Stone Store off-limits due to bacterial contamination. Two other sites — Waimamaku River at Wekaweka Rd in South Hokianga and Victoria River south of Kaitaia — were found to have elevated bacterial levels so caution was advised. That's a marked improvement since the December 16 tests which found four out of 60 sites around Northland were unsuitable for swimming and caution was advised at another five. The unsafe locations in the earlier tests included one of Northland's busiest swimming spots, the southern end of Paihia Beach. Bacteria levels there have now dropped back below safe levels. The earlier results are thought to have been influenced by heavy rain in preceding days. The tests are conducted fortnightly during summer by the Northland Regional Council and published by Land, Air, Water Aotearoa.
Warning over flotation devices
Lifeguards want people to take care with flotation devices at the beach after three children on body-boards were swept out to sea in Northland. Waipu Cove lifeguards assisted three children on body-boards back into shore who were being blown out by offshore winds on Thursday. On the same day, at Long Bay, in Auckland, two men on inflatable rings were blown about 250m out to sea. Lifeguards swam out with a rescue board and tube and brought them back to shore.
Fire closes road
State Highway 1 was closed near Cape Reinga for about an hour on Thursday evening due to smoke billowing across the road from a fire. Houhora fire chief Warren Bunn said the road was closed at the one-way bridge just north of Te Kao about 6.20pm after a blaze started in roadside kikuyu grass. The flames covered an area about 100m long and 30m wide and started spreading into a row of pines. The blaze also threatened to jump the road until doused by a Salt Air helicopter using a monsoon bucket. Firefighters from Houhora and Kaitaia brigades tackled the blaze from the ground. About 30 cars returning from Cape Reinga had to wait for the road to reopen. The cause was unknown. Meanwhile, on Friday firefighters finished mopping up at large scrub fire next to East Beach, near Houhora, which had started on Wednesday.