Firefighters are continuing to monitor a number of fires which have burned hectares of land and caused residents to evacuate, roads to close and the Hastings District to go into a state of emergency.

Crews were monitoring the Waimarama Rd fire for a second night last night.

Nine crews and firefighters worked on the blaze yesterday with teams from Taranaki, Auckland, Tararua, Rotorua, Rangitikei and Whangarei on site.

Also coming to assist was the Pumicelands Rural Fire Authority (Central North Island), fire crews from the Defence Force, the Department of Conservation, the Fire Protection Service and the NZ Fire Service.


The scale of the fire prompted quick action from surrounding residents with 20 people on Waimarama Rd evacuated and another 37 people on Craggy Range Rd when the wind changed direction.

Those from Waimarama Rd were allowed back on Monday night but residents from Craggy Range Rd weren't able to return until 6.30pm last night.

Hastings District Council incident controller Alison Banks said those two roads were likely to be closed for three days to enable fire trucks free access without having to worry about "rubberneckers".

"There is still a lot of work to be done dampening down hot spots, and we need to make sure that fire engines and other heavy machinery have free access to the fire site."

The emergency status remained in place but Ms Banks said firefighters were "comfortable" that they had a defendable space around the fire.

"Flare ups on Tuesday were confined to within the 30-metre fire break that had been bulldozed over the last 24 hours."

This fire break and the one that was on Waimarama Rd on Monday was bulldozed by a range of contractors who all flooded in to help the situation.

The other fires which kept crews on their toes were all under control but were also being closely monitored.

The Colin White Rd fire burned 270ha of grassland while the Ripia Stream fire burned 87ha in beech and hardwood scrub.

The Endsleigh Rd fire saw 3ha of grassland burned.

With smoke and ash pouring into the sky, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board put out a warning to residents about potential contamination.

Ash is a chemical hazard and must be discarded if found in water tanks or on the roof.

A spokeswoman said boiling water would not remove this chemical hazard.

"If there is a taste or odour to the water, it should be assumed to be contaminated and not used for drinking, preparing food, personal hygiene, or water for animals."

Smoke also affects personal health and may irritate the eyes, nose, throat and airways.

Symptoms include runny or sore eyes, dry or sore throat, sore nose, cough, tightness of the chest or difficulty breathing, but in healthy people these should disappear once exposure to smoke ends.

The large number of fires in a close proximity has prompted the council to remind people there is a complete fire ban.

Two outdoor rubbish fires were also put out yesterday by fire crews as people continue to take "foolish risks".

Hastings District Council Civil Defence Emergency Management controller Craig Cameron said it was frustrating that in these incredibly dry conditions, which are described as the worst in at least 20 years, some people are still do not getting the message.

"There is a complete fire ban; which means no fires outdoors of any description. That includes burning rubbish, cooking fires and fireworks."

Mr Cameron said a family has lost their home and people were very nearly caught out trying to evacuate so lighting any fires is putting people's lives at risk.