A change in the prevailing wind caused embers from a fire to start a spot fire on a rural property near Bulls on Saturday.

Bulls Volunteer Fire Bridge senior station officer Braden Hammond said the Bulls brigade was called to the property on State Highway 3, about half a kilometre on the Whanganui side of Bulls, about 10am on Saturday. The site of the fire was near the Bulls water supply and a couple of houses.

"The farm worker lit the fire in the morning and the conditions were all in his favour," Hammond said.

"Unfortunately, with the change in prevailing wind, embers caused a spot fire on a tinder-dry hill that had been logged. It ignited and crept up the side of the hill. Our crews were tasked to cut that off at the head and rural fire was tasked to make safe the fires that had been lit earlier in the day.


"It was quite a deep-seated fire and rural fire was there for most of the rest of the day.

"It was a relatively good save. If the wind had carried on the way it was, it could have been a different story."

The deep-seated fire had firefighters at the scene for most of the day.
The deep-seated fire had firefighters at the scene for most of the day.

Hammond said the Bulls brigade's newly-qualified station officer Mike Kirton ran the scene under his guidance "and he did extremely well".

Two fire appliances from Bulls initially went to the fire and a tanker from Marton was called for additional water. The deputy principal rural fire officer later took over command and the Rangitikei Volunteer Rural Fire Force attended with two pumping appliances and a water tanker from Manawatu.

"It's astounding that we're responding to spot fires at the end of May," Hammond said.

"The message from Fire and Emergency New Zealand is, check it's alright before you light."

In Whanganui smoke alarms saved a rural property, and potentially its occupants, when a fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday, Fire and Emergency Whanganui senior station officer Aaron Summerhays said.

Crews were called to the property in Matarawa Valley Rd about 1.30am after smoke alarms alerted the occupants to a small fire.


"It definitely shows the need to have working smoke alarms as that saved the property and possibly the occupants," Summerhays said.

"The alarms alerted them quickly to the fact there was a fire."

Whanganui firefighters were called to a vegetation fire on the Bastia Hill walkway about 3.30pm on Saturday.

However, the fire had been extinguished by someone from a neighbouring property by the time they arrived, Summerhays said.