Rural fire crews were confronted with another flare-up this morning at Mahia after a night of damping and monitoring a major grass and scrub fire which tore through about 35ha and threatened homes yesterday.

A volunteer fire officer said while the flare-up was not serious and had been dealt with it showed the vulnerability of the area which has been under a total fire ban since December 21.

The fire broke out just after 3pm in scrub south of the Mahanga settlement of homes and baches, destroying one unoccupied home.

The blaze also left about 60 properties without power and water. A Wairoa District Council spokesperson said the situation was likely to be sorted out later today.


"The power is out as a precautionary measure as a pole had been damaged in the fire - it will hopefully be back on again soon."

The water supply to the Mahanga area had also been affected as the heat from the fire had burned wiring inside the pumping station.

"We are not sure at this stage of the extent of the damage and we may have to send water out there."

The spokesperson said many homes and baches had their own tanks and be described the locals as "pretty resilient".

At the height of the fire 12 firefighting crews from across the region as well as six helicopters battled the fast-moving blaze which was being pushed by a strong southerly wind.

"It was so quick because it is so dry up there," bach owner Chris Patheyjohns said.

He said the it was the combination of a change in the wind direction as well as "one road" which spared his and dozens of other baches.

"If it had crossed that road we would have been goners," he said.


"And we would have been in real trouble had the wind not turned to an easterly - that pushed it back to where it come from."

Locals had all, pitched in as best they could, Mr Patheyjohns said.

"There were spades and hoses at work - although the water pressure isn't the best - but everyone was getting stuck in."

He praised the fire crews who "knew exactly where to hit it".

Fire crews had the fire contained by about 8.15pm with many evacuated residents allowed to return to their homes and the main road re-opened.