Helicopters, excavators, urban and rural firefighters and forest crews were used in a five-hour battle to contain a fire which threatened thousands of hectares of forest in the Ruahine Ranges west of Central Hawke's Bay during the weekend.
The fire in forest slash in Gwavas Forest was reported to Fire and Emergency New Zealand soon after 4pm on Saturday and while the last crews cleared the scene by 10pm and checks were still needed on Sunday it was a "very good save", according to regional principal rural fire officer Trevor Mitchell.
He said that with delays in getting some machinery into the area – including a transporter for excavators in the forest – a particularly good job was done by the first crews into the area, from the FIRENZ Tikokino and Ongaonga volunteer brigades.
Resources, including five tankers, also came from the Otane, Waipawa and Hastings brigades, Panpac Heretaunga, the Maraekakaho and Omakere rural fire forces. A firefighting appliance from the forest and back-up crews from other forestry, including Kaweka, were also used.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Mitchell said that while confined to an area of about 150m x 150m the fire it was "right in the forest" with the potential to spread "quite a long way".
Firefighters were surprised that the fire had taken after recent rain in the area, and it was fortunate there was little to no wind fanning the fire, he said.
"The guys did a really good job in the containment of the fire, assisted by the two helicopters and a couple of large excavators," he said.