A large bushfire that engulfed shrubbery in Matatā has prompted a local fire chief to warn of a "very dangerous season ahead".
On Saturday afternoon, more than 30 firefighters were deployed to a large shrub fire that started on the sand dunes and blew into the bush in Matatā.
Matata Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Gavin Dennis said the siren went off about 3pm on Saturday to smoke coming from the bush near a motor camp off State Highway 2.
He said the fire was approaching blue gum trees that were highly flammable and there were reports of a lot of smoke, some even black, which meant the fire was burning fresh timber.
Dennis made the decision to call for back-up and six trucks battled the blaze that engulfed the shrubbery for four hours.
Police and roadworks were also sent to control traffic off the busy road.
Dennis said it appeared some kids nearby may have set a small fire on the beach that burnt out of control.
He said although it looked like it had been an accident, the consequences were huge.
The high temperatures and dry conditions this early on in the summer was concerning, he said.
A restricted fire season was already in place, as well as a complete ban on fires in the open.
Dennis said even people lighting barbecues and hangis needed to be extremely responsible as the conditions were that dry.
It was going to be a "very dangerous season ahead", he said.
"If you don't need to light a fire, please don't do it."
He said it was going to be a "really, really hot summer" and "people need to be careful".
"We don't want to end up like Australia."
Only hours after the bushfire, Matatā crews were called to a deliberately lit van fire on Herepuru Rd.
The fire had spread into nearby bush, wreaking havoc in the shrubbery.
The crew got to work in breathing apparatus and spent the next hour extinguishing the fire, he said.
Moana Pumicelands rural fire officer Chris Clark said the current fire danger for shrubbery was sitting at extreme.
He said fire officers would be closely monitoring the conditions and warned people to be "very careful".
Some of the most volatile and flammable shrub was shelterbelt trees found within and near orchards, making places like Te Puke and the Western Bay of Plenty quite vulnerable, he said.
Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force chief fire officer Phil Muldoon said his advice was for people to remain vigilant and observe local fire warnings.
He asked that if anyone sees any smoke to report it straight away.
The Bay of Plenty was set to see a hot and dry end to November, with near to no rainfall before December 1.
Metservice spokeswoman Claire Nickson said Rotorua temperatures were sitting well-above the November average.
In Rotorua, 18.6C was the norm, however, temperatures had skyrocketed to the 27C and 28C as of late.
No substantial rain was expected in Rotorua and Tauranga for the rest of the month.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council backyard burning rules - https://cdn.boprc.govt.nz/media/765585/1201-smoke-sense-the-rules-on-backyard-burning-dle-brochure-for-web.pdf
Fire and Emergency NZ guidance - https://www.checkitsalright.nz/
Today - Mainly fine and warm, but the chance of a shower this afternoon. Light winds. High of 27C, low of 15C.
Tomorrow - Morning cloud, then increasing fine spells. Chance afternoon shower. Light winds. High of 22C, low of 12C.