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Scrub fires at Manukau Harbour and south of Rotorua were brought under control before extensive damage was done, the fire service said last night.

A hovercraft was used to transport staff and equipment to a blaze at the Otautaua Stonefields Historic Reserve in Mangere yesterday afternoon.

Crews using portable pumps to douse the flames with sea water had to contend with a receding tide, but had tankers on hand if needed, a fire service spokesman said.

A second scrub fire which began around 3.30pm in Waikite Valley, south of Rotorua, was fanned by a warm breeze and forced the evacuation of two homes before firefighters were able to get on top of it.

About six hectares were burnt, fire communications shift manager Scott Osmond said.