Firefighters at the massive Kaimaumau blaze were confronted this afternoon by a repeat of the conditions which caused multiple flare-ups a day earlier as the remnants of Cyclone Cody continued to buffet Northland.
Three homes on the northern side of the 2530ha fire remain evacuated, with the occupants allowed home during the day to tend to animals but told to leave at night or any time conditions become critical.
Incident controller Peter Clark said Sunday's winds of more than 25km/h coupled with high temperatures and humidity that dropped into the low 40s had caused smouldering ash across the fire ground to ignite.
''Spot fires started popping up all over the place at the same time. However, we were prepared with a number of helicopters and crews on the ground.''
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Clark, who comes from Kohukohu, said a simultaneous ground and air attack on the fire proved effective.
Similar conditions this afternoon, day 31 of the Kaimaumau blaze, caused a significant flare-up at the fire's northern flank and a huge column of smoke that could be seen from Kaitaia.
The wind was, however, blowing the smoke and flames towards the sea, so no homes were in danger.
Clark said 63 firefighters, three bulldozers, three diggers, eight helicopters and a full incident management team were deployed at the fire.
Today's priorities were creating new containment lines in the northern part of the fire ground, strengthening existing fire breaks, and digging up and extinguishing hotspots.
The firefighters were a mix of personnel from the Department of Conservation, the Defence Force, Fire and Emergency NZ and forestry contractors, supported by local iwi.
''There's a whole range of people invested in the fire, they all have a part to play,'' he said.