The Far North's rural fire boss says he's had enough of
people ignoring the weather conditions when lighting fires.
Firefighters responded to a series of scrub, grass and forest
fires over the weekend, most of which were caused by wind
fanning rubbish fires.
The biggest was at Mitimiti, on the west coast north of the
Hokianga Harbour, where flames swept through 10ha of scrub on
Sunday afternoon before they could be doused by helicopters
using monsoon buckets.
The fire started next to a house so it was fortunate the wind
drove the fire away from the settlement, principal rural fire
officer Myles Taylor said.
Three helicopters fought the blaze for five hours, backed up
by ground crews from Kohukohu, Ahipara and Kaitaia.
Firefighters remained overnight and a Kaikohe forestry crew
was dampening down hot spots yesterday. A patrol was expected
to return today to guard against flare-ups.
The cause was still being investigated but it appeared the
wind had caught someone burning rubbish by surprise.
"The wind is getting everybody. People need to pay attention
to what the wind's doing. We're getting intolerant of people
disregarding weather conditions.
"We're just over it. If people are going to do it, they can
expect the bill."
Just as the Mitimiti fire was brought under control a
suspicious blaze broke out in pine forest on Tokawhero Rd, at
Awarua south of Kaikohe, about 7pm. Two helicopters were
called out along with two Kaikohe appliances. One crew stayed
on overnight with an infrared camera while another cut a fire
break around the burnt area yesterday morning.
A day earlier a resident of Tirohanga Rd, near Kawakawa, lit
a small pile of rubbish and sawdust. When he went into town
wind spread the fire into about 30sq m of kikuyu.
It was put out by the Paihia Fire Brigade, called away from
an open day at their new station, and rural firefighters from
The Rural Fire Authority is vowing to take a hard line
against fire starters by billing them the full firefighting
One of the Kaitaia firefighters at the Mitimiti blaze said
the locals were fantastic, supplying refreshments for the
crews and even some of Mitimiti's famous mussels to take
- By Peter de Graaf of the Northern Advocate