Whanganui fire crews were kept busy on New Year's Eve with residents calling in about backyard bonfires.

Senior station officer Craig Gardiner said there were eight calls overnight on Monday, with most relating to "leer ups" with backyard fires.

There was also a call to Whanganui Prison at Kaitoke where sprinklers had been set off, Gardiner said.

On New Year's Day, firefighters spent several hours at Kai Iwi beach dealing with a large pile of driftwood that caught fire near the play area.

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There were three New Year bonfires on that area of the beach and one, which was not extinguished, sparked the fire in the driftwood pile.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand advises people who light beach fires to let the fire burn out and, once cool, wet it thoroughly with sea water. They warn against burying the fire with sand as people may walk on it and receive burns.

Firefighter Lindsay Taylor and senior firefighter Seton Brown work on damping down the fire after the flames were put out.
Firefighter Lindsay Taylor and senior firefighter Seton Brown work on damping down the fire after the flames were put out.
The fire was sparked by one of three New Year bonfires on the beach.
The fire was sparked by one of three New Year bonfires on the beach.