24 Nov 2011

Dozens of firefighters tackle pine plantation blaze

9:54 am on 24 November 2011

About 60 firefighters will continue to battle a blaze in a Hokianga pine plantation on Thursday morning.

The fire has so far destroyed about 350 hectares of pine trees since it began in the White Cliffs plantation on Monday.

The fire started on Monday in the White Cliffs plantation and has so far destroyed about 350-hectares of pine trees.

The Northern Rural Fire Authority says fire crews have managed to contain the blaze.

However, principal fire officer Myles Taylor says it could flare up again on Thursday if the wind strengthens.

"We've got a pretty good stranglehold on it now and we're hoping to consolidate that. It's very much a weather dependent thing," he says.

"If the wind changes direction significantly or the intensity increases we may get some spotting and a breakout at some stage."

Operations will be scaled back once the hotspots are out.

Mr Taylor says the authority knows who started the fire but it is too soon to say whether it was lit accidentally.

He says the cost of fighting the fire is now in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.