Firefighters from Houhora and Kaitaia responded to a car fire near Waiharara on Friday afternoon, successfully containing what could have become a major vegetation blaze.
The flames totally destroyed the car, and were becoming established in wattles, gum trees and other vegetation by the time the first appliance arrived, Senior Station Officer (Kaitaia) Colin Kitchen saying the situation had been minutes away from getting out of hand.
Smoke had begun pouring from the car when the elderly driver parked it off Heath Rd. He had escaped unharmed, but was very upset, Kitchen said.
Flames had begun to scorch the trunks of several eucalyptus trees before they were doused, but did not get into the canopy.