A swarm of fires has swept Northland as high temperatures and strong winds send the fire risk soaring to danger levels.

Fire restrictions came into force across the region at 8am today as firefighters were still damping down and investigating Monday's blazes, which included one in South Hokianga that required two helicopters to put out, and another at Matauri Bay which is thought to have destroyed a bach.

Acting Northland principal rural fire officer Wayne Martin said most of the recent blazes had escaped from rubbish fires or burn-offs, which was why restrictions had been imposed. As of this morning most fires in Northland required a permit.

Permits are free and give firefighters a chance to offer advice on how to stay safe and keep fires under control.


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About 5.30pm yesterday fire crews from Rawene and Kaikohe had to protect a house on State Highway 12, Ōmanaia, while helicopters used monsoon buckets to stop the flames advancing up a hill.

The cause is still being investigated, Martin said.

A large fire about 8.30pm at Tangowahine, east of Dargaville, turned out to be a farm burn-off. The fire was well contained but was expected to burn for days and had no permit.

The property owners were due to meet fire bosses today.

About 10.15pm, also yesterday, a fire at Matauri Bay tore through an area about half the size of a football field and is thought to have destroyed a dwelling. Cavalli, Kaeo and Kerikeri brigades responded.

That blaze is also still under investigation.

Earlier, about 1pm on Monday, the Kaiwaka, Mangawhai and Maungaturoto brigades spent about four hours extinguishing a blaze in pine slash on Kaiwaka-Mangawhai Rd.
It may have started when an earlier burnoff was fanned back into life by high winds.


A forestry fire crew was back at the scene today to continue damping down.

About 2pm on Monday a blaze started by a rubbish fire at Cherrington Rd, Ōrauta, swept through an area of about 30 x 30m before it was put out by Kawakawa Fire Brigade.

Martin said fires had been continuous for the past two weeks, especially in the afternoons as temperatures rise.

Northland principal rural fire officer Myles Taylor is currently helping fight bushfires in Australia.

■ Go to www.checkitsalright.nz to check current restrictions or apply for a free permit. Some fires currently don't require a permit — such as hangi fires, gas and charcoal barbecues, braziers and chiminea — but check the website for conditions.