24 Feb 2013

Crews battle bush fire for second day

2:23 pm on 24 February 2013

Firefighters have continued attempts to control a large bush fire north of Auckland for a second day.

The blaze at Dome Forest, between Warkworth and Matakana, started at about 4.30pm on Saturday and quickly spread to cover more than 65 hectares of rugged terrain including a pine plantation.

Firefighters worked until the early hours of Sunday morning to contain the fire and fresh crews resumed the effort around daybreak.

Four helicopters were dropping water from monsoon buckets and diggers were being used to create fire breaks.

Auckland's chief rural fire officer Bryan Cartelle surveyed the area from a helicopter on Sunday morning and said the fire is still very active, but the cooler night and morning have helped.

Fire Service shift manager Jaron Phillips said the plan for Sunday was to establish a perimeter round the fire to prevent it spreading it further.

He said access to the fire was difficult in the rugged terrain. "The only real way of fighting this blaze has been by helicopter and aerial operation."

Waiwhiu and Wright roads were closed and police urged motorists on State Highway 1 driving through Dome Valley to be extremely cautious where smoke was billowing onto the road.

Northland fire

Meanwhile, Mr Cartelle says it could be weeks, or even months, before a large fire burning near the Kaipara Harbour is fully out.

Rural fire crews are continuing to contain the smouldering remains of a 90 hectare fire that began in Tapora on the Okahukura Peninsula on Tuesday night.

Mr Cartelle said in sandy ground the fire can burn very deeply and into the roots of trees, and it will not be fully extinguished until there is significant rainfall.