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New Zealand’s northern most fire, started by stupidity.

The fire that started on the northern most tip of New Zealand’s northern island put many homes at risk and has taken 24 hours to fully control, it may have been started by a man lighting a flare, police are investigating.

The fire started about 12.40pm yesterday (Sunday 13th Dec) in scrub next to a pine forest and behind a row of about 20 homes along State Highway 12, next to Kaikohe cemetery, west of Ngawha.

At its height, the fire was just 10m from the home of Ed Wihongi. He was away but his dog and cattle were at the property. A fire appliance was stationed next to his home to protect it.

Northern principal rural fire officer Mr Taylor said the fire covered an area of about 6ha.

Only about 0.5ha of pine forest was lost thanks to the efforts of helicopter crews from Paihia and Whangarei. Kaikohe, Okaihau and Kerikeri fire brigades helped on the ground, as did Kaikohe rural firefighters.

It was fortunate the wind was blowing towards the road and not towards Ngawha Prison, where it could have forced a major evacuation.

Firefighters stayed on scene overnight to ensure no flare ups.

Top image for illustration purposes only.


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