Firefighters have contained a large scrub fire north of
Auckland despite having to contend with steep terrain and
limited water supplies.
But rural fire crews were still hard at work tonight after
three more scrub fires broke out around the North Island.
Principal rural fire officer Bryan Cartelle said the blaze
near a commercial pine forest in Dome Valley, about 10km
north of Warkworth, had not grown beyond the 71-hectare it
had spread to this morning.
That was despite challenging conditions including water
supply issues and difficult terrain.
"It's steep terrain and it's cutover forestry so it's hard to
work, but we've got some good operators in there and they're
making some good headroads into it."
The priority had been to get firebreaks in place to stop the
fire from spreading any further.
Mr Cartelle said most of the firebreaks were in place by
tonight, but those which needed to be cut by hand would be
put in tomorrow.
Two helicopters were earlier called in to drop water onto
hotspots, while two more had been laying chemical retardant
Mr Cartelle said a team of 43 volunteer rural firefighters,
including some from Auckland and Whangarei, were fighting the
fire and incident management personnel had been called in
Several water tankers were also supporting the fire
operation, which could delay residential water deliveries in
the Matakana area.
No properties were in danger and smoke which had last night
drifted over State Highway 1 was now minimal.
The cause of the blaze was not yet known but northern fire
communications spokesman Jaron Phillips said it may have been
started by skeet shooters seen in the area last night.
Last night a helicopter pilot fighting the fire needed
medical treatment for ash in his eyes. He was grounded so he
could be treated by St John Ambulance officers.
A skeleton crew would monitor the fire overnight.
Meanwhile, several more scrub fires have broken out across
the North Island.
A fire at Ahipara, at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach in
Northland, was burning on a small area of scrub near the
Mr Phillips said firefighters were setting up a portable pump
from the river.
Another fire near Rawene, south of the Hokianga Harbour, had
burnt through 2500sq m of scrub and spread up a hill.
"It's jumped the road, so the fire is on both sides of the
Fire crews were battling the blaze with the help of a water
And in the Bay of Plenty, firefighters were tackling a 4500sq
m scrub fire at Opitoki.
The fire was being driven by the wind so a helicopter had
been scrambled to the area.