One local resident described the terrifying moment when flames came right up to his family home on Waimarama Rd yesterday.

Hawke's Bay A and P Society president Richard Chambers was at the showgrounds when he got the call saying a large grass fire had broken out around Waimarama Rd and was gaining strength fast.

"I raced home as soon as I heard and when I got back there it was actually horrific."

The fire had spread rapidly down his road resulting in the neighbouring property being burned to the ground.


"We are just so lucky that our house so far has survived as some others aren't so lucky like our neighbours - it is terrible.

"The fire actually came right up to our house so the situation has not been good."

Mr Chambers said the tinder-dry conditions, hot temperatures and strong westerly winds were a recipe for disaster as four different areas around the region went up in smoke yesterday.

"It was just horrific, the whole experience, and I still need to get my head around it. We have seen it today affect the whole of Hawke's Bay," he said last night.

Mr Chambers wasn't allowed back into his property yesterday and was staying in town before heading back out there first thing in the morning.

He said fire crews were still out there around his home last night.

The A and P president felt they weren't completely out of trouble yet and went to sleep last night with his fingers and toes crossed.

"The whole thing is such bad news and something I haven't experienced before."

One thing Mr Chambers said was amazing was the efforts of the fire crews and those in the helicopters.

"You just don't realise the job they do until you see it first hand, they have been simply incredible."