There are still concerns this morning about the large fire at Waimarama Rd that continued to burn overnight and is threatening a neighbouring pine plantation.

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said that although the fire was mainly contained by 9pm yesterday, if the prevailing westerly wind changed direction a 200ha forest made up of 18-year-old pine trees could present a big problem.

"Crews and excavators bulldozed a fire break between the area of forest that burnt yesterday and this one but we are relying on mother nature and the westerly taking the fire away from the large forest."

He said there was currently a "major aerial assault" taking place from above with helicopters continuing to douse the area.


"We are also hoping to get fire trucks up to that firebreak. Serious efforts are being made to try and get as much of that fire under control as possible."

Due to the current wind direction, about 10 households on Craggy Range Rd had been evacuated as a precaution, he added.

This morning Waimarama Rd was open but Craggy Range Rd (off Tukituki Rd) and Lopez Lane remained closed.

A total of six fires were burning yesterday, including one near Middle Road that started at about 9.30pm but was extinguished, and another that flared up again in the hills at Te Hauke, which was walked over yesterday and today, and was under control.

"We still have a major fire at Ripia River - we could not get in there yesterday, it was too windy with drizzle which hopefully would have stopped it, but that's a major one that's inaccessible by road."

Fires in Colin White Road and Endsleigh Road were contained but fire crews continued to monitor them.

He said the army had been brought in to assist, but otherwise no additional resources had arrived apart from the crews and personnel from Auckland, Taranaki and Wellington who joined the efforts yesterday.

The exact cause of the Waimarama Rd fire was still unknown, Mr Yule said.

"For the first time this year we have had strong westerly winds in January and February when we normally get them in November when it's greener.

"It's caused a lot of powerlines to arc and ignite on the dry grass."

In terms of costs, including the helicopters, he said the council initially covered the costs and were then reimbursed by the national rural fire authority's fund.

"If it can be proved that someone is liable, the rural fire authority will go after them to recoup those costs."