Patrons of a Taupo pub didn't even have time to grab a cold
beer when it was evacuated as a large bush fire, believed to
have been deliberately lit, threatened the hotel this
In the most serious of dozens of scrub fires that kept
emergency services across the country busy, the Taupo blaze
forced the evacuation of the Spa Hotel.
"Police rushed down and said 'go, go, go. Grab your wallet
and go'," lessee Scott Rinkin said.
"We told everyone to jump in their cars and go."
He said staff and 18 guests watched from several hundred
metres away as smoke billowed into the air and wind whipped
the flames towards the pub.
A helicopter with a monsoon bucket helped 12 crews extinguish
the fire, which destroyed about 3ha before it was brought
under control close to the hotel. A second helicopter was on
The cause of the fire is being investigated and incident
controller Phil Parker said it appeared to have been
He said the fire started in a remote location and "spread
Northern communications shift manager Jaron Phillips said
firefighters were called to 33 vegetation fires between
midnight and 8pm today.
He said extreme care was needed as firefighters faced
tinderbox conditions in much of the country.
"The public needs to be vigilant and today's example where
property was endangered [at Taupo] goes to show how extreme
the situation is and the care the public needs to take," Mr
Firefighters had earlier extinguished a large scrub fire on
Great Barrier Island, which started on the side of a hill on
Palmers Beach about 7.45pm yesterday.
It took 30 firefighters and a helicopter to bring under
control the fire believed to have been started by a camp
Meanwhile, fireworks were being blamed as the cause of a
large fire in the crater of Auckland's Mt Eden early this
The blaze burned through about 200 square metres of the
crater before firefighters brought it under control about