Three fire brigades and a helicopter responded to a scrub fire at Kaimaumau early on Saturday morning, nipping what could have been a major blaze in the bud before wind and temperatures began rising.
The Kaitaia brigade initially responded to a rubbish fire at a Kaimaumau Rd property at 5.16am, the crew heading home when they were turned around at Waipapakauri at 6.40am and sent back, this time to a scrub fire a few hundred metres from where the road meets Rangaunu Harbour.
That fire was in scrub north of the road, deputy Chief Fire Officer Ross Beddows saying it covered an area about the size of a rugby field before it was contained, a lack of wind and morning dampness slowing its rate of spread.
Chief Fire Officer Craig Rogers had called in a helicopter, which flew over the area to ensure that the blaze was well and truly extinguished, had not spread further than could be seen from the ground.
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Beddows agreed that Kaimaumau, which had a history of major fires, many of which have burned for weeks in peat swamp, had "dodged a bullet."
"We can't be sure how it started, but it was definitely suspicious," he said.
"These fires don't start themselves."
Crews from Kaitaia, Houhora and Karikari had responded to the second call.
"Meanwhile Kaitaia sent a crew to a digger on fire at Pukepoto at midday yesterday, Beddows saying the blaze was effectively out by the time the appliance arrived, the firefighters finishing it off with foam. Ahipara also responded to that incident.
Kaitaia's first call yesterday came at 2.32am, courtesy of a faulty smoke sensor at Paparore School. The crew checked the school thoroughly and could find no cause for concern.