A home has been damaged by fire at Mangamuka just a day after a house was destroyed in a blaze at nearby Umawera.
The latest fire started about 11.35am on Wednesday in a single-storey house on State Highway 1 just south of Mangamuka Gorge in the Far North.
The alarm was raised by a passer-by who saw smoke in the windows and coming out of the roof. No one was home at the time.
When Ōkaihau Fire Brigade arrived a corner of the house was ablaze and flames had spread into the ceiling.
Ōkaihau fire chief Andrew Graham said the home's occupants had gone to Kaitaia so they were ''very, very lucky'' a passer-by saw the fire.
The couple was also lucky they had shut the house up thoroughly so when the fire got inside it ''pretty much snuffed itself out'' due to lack of oxygen.
One wall and the ceiling space had been damaged and there was a lot of smoke inside, but most of their belongings were salvageable. He expected the house could be repaired.
It was a good effort by the small Ōkaihau crew backed up by two appliances from Kaitaia and a tanker from Kaikohe, he said.
The fire started when a cigarette ignited the deck with the flames then spreading up a wall.
Just a day earlier a house near Umawera School, about 10km south of Mangamuka on SH1, was razed in a ferocious early morning blaze.
That was the fifth house in the Far North to be destroyed by fire in just under a month.
Two adults and four children, aged between 3 and 12, managed to get out unhurt but lost everything they owned.
That fire was first seen on the rear wall of the house outside the laundry.
Fire investigator Gary Beer found traces of an accelerant in the area where the fire started but it could have been petrol from a generator stored in that corner of the house.
The investigation is continuing.