A spate of fires across the Bay of Plenty region has prompted officials to deliver some much-needed fire safety tips as the weather heats up.
A major bush fire in central Rotorua, a playground up in flames in Whakatāne and a number of small vegetation fires throughout Tauranga were reported in the last 24 hours.
Some are being treated as suspicious, while others are still sitting as unexplained.
On Tuesday, flames up to 3m-high ravaged shrubbery near the Rotorua Government Gardens.
A person, a lighter and bedding were all things found or seen in the vicinity, yet the cause was still unknown.
Specialist fire investigator Lynda McHugh, who was sent to the scene, said the fire was easily one of the biggest she had ever seen in central Rotorua.
She said the fire had gone up "extremely fast" in "extremely dry" conditions.
McHugh was able to find the point of origin for the fire, but could not quite determine what had happened.
She said the fire being deliberately lit had not been ruled out.
Just hours later, a playground at Apanui school in Whakatāne was found engulfed in flames.
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said they were inundated with calls to the fire about 8pm on Tuesday and crews arrived and quickly contained it.
The fire was being treated as suspicious.
Many of Tuesday night's firework-related call-outs were centred in the Tauranga area, with small vegetation fires reported in Welcome Bay, Bethlehem and Pāpāmoa.
Yesterday a rubbish fire burnt out of control and set an industrial building alight off Te Ngae Rd in Rotorua.
A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said crews headed to the scene at 8.43am on Hamiora Rd.
Fire and smoke were visible from the road, but the fire was not well-involved with crews quickly getting it under control.
A photographer at the scene was told it was being treated as suspicious and a fire investigator was making inquiries.
Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force chief fire officer Phil Muldoon said they were approaching and preparing for summer, which was their busiest time of year and this year the dry conditions had started early.
His advice was for people to just use their common sense, respect any fire bans and report any smoke they see at any anytime.
Specialist fire investigator Luke Burgess said it was important to note that the region was in a restricted fire season and permits were required for controlled burns.
He said people were always welcome to contact their nearest fire station to seek guidance and advice on fire safety.
Barbecue safety tips:
Keep looking when you're cooking.
Don't drink and fry.
Do not add flammable fluids to an already lit fire.
Never barbecue in indoors.
Dispose of ashes safely. Put them in a metal bucket with a lid, then thoroughly douse with water. Ashes can stay hot enough to start a fire for up to five days.
Before using a gas barbecue, check to make sure the connection between the gas tank and the fuel line isn't leaking. Do this by applying dishwashing liquid to the end of the hose where it connects to the gas cylinder. If it starts foaming it means you have a leak. Get it checked by a professional before using it.
Caravan fire safety tips:
Install a photoelectric smoke alarm and test it regularly. Velcro the alarm to the ceiling so it can be removed when cooking.
For light, use proper lighting units or torches. Never use candles, they're too dangerous.
Make sure furniture and fittings are at least one metre from the heater. Fan heaters with a cut-off switch are the safest.
Make sure you have a clear escape route.
Have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket near the exit and make sure you know how to use it.
- Source: Fire and Emergency NZ