15 Feb 2017

Powerlines not cause of Waimarama fire, says company

2:05 pm on 15 February 2017

The power company Unison says its lines did not cause a major Hawke's Bay fire.

Power lines in the Hawkes Bay area.

Power lines in the Hawke's Bay area. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

About 500ha of vegetation were burned by five fires in the region, with the largest - which started in Waimarama on Monday - charring 168ha and razing a house.

Firefighters and residents said arcing power lines could be the cause of the Waimarama fire.

Unison spokesman Danny Gough said tripping or arcing on the lines would have caused an outage which would register on its systems in its control room, and there was no record of that.

Mr Gough said crews doing maintenance in the area saw the fire ignite, and it was not near power lines.

He said Unison was willing to be part of the investigation into the fires.

Meanwhile, Civil Defence area controller Craig Cameron said the state of emergency declared after the fires broke out would be reviewed today, and may be lifted.