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Scrub fire spreading in North Auckland; house at risk; state highway closed

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Apr 2024, 7:04am
Firefighters were called to the scrub fire in Helensville, north of Auckland, at 3.35am. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Firefighters were called to the scrub fire in Helensville, north of Auckland, at 3.35am. Photo / Hayden Woodward

Scrub fire spreading in North Auckland; house at risk; state highway closed

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Apr 2024, 7:04am

Around 30 firefighters are battling an uncontained scrub fire in high winds in Helensville, north Auckland. 

Police said a man is “assisting police with our enquiries” related to the fire, which is next to State Highway 16 north of Parakai. The road has been closed. 

Fire and Emergency northern shift manager Josh Pennefather said the first call to the vegetation fire came in at 3.35am. 

On arrival crews found a fire in toetoe and pine trees, measuring around 200m x 100m. 

“It is currently uncontained and spreading uphill,” Pennefather said. 

About 30 firefighters are at the Helensville fire. Photo / Hayden WoodwardAbout 30 firefighters are at the Helensville fire. Photo / Hayden Woodward 

“The latest size is 200m x 400m. There is one house currently at risk and firefighters are working to protect it.” 

Six fire trucks, three water tankers and two support vehicles are attending. 

The fire is between Helensville and Kaukapakapa, opposite Mt Rex Shipping. High winds are buffeting Auckland with scattered rain forecast to become widespread later this evening. 

A Herald photographer said the flames were “engulfing large trees”. As of 6am smoke was blanketing the area and visibility was very low. “The whole road’s absolutely covered in smoke.” 

Police said they were also called to the scene at 3.35am and are looking into the “circumstances” of the fire. 

“A male was found near the address and is currently assisting police with our enquiries.” 

SH16 closed, long delays for commuters 

State Highway 16 has been closed north of Helensville, between Inland Rd and Pipitiwai Drive, NZTA Waka Kotahi said. Commuters were warned to delay their journey or follow directions from response crews. 

Auckland Transport also warned of delays as buses would have to be detoured around the fire. 

A logging truck that had attempted to turn around at Pipitiwai Drive had broken down which was further blocking the road, the Herald photographer said. 

As of 5am the blaze was uncontained and measured 200m x 400m. Photo / Hayden WoodwardAs of 5am the blaze was uncontained and measured 200m x 400m. Photo / Hayden Woodward 

Sixty firefighters battle scrub fire in Hurunui 

A large vegetation fire in the Hurunui district in north Canterbury has been contained this morning. 

The blaze was first reported as a hedge fire in Masons Flat around 12.50am, Fire and Emergency NZ southern shift manager Amanda Ensor said. 

Crews from Hawarden, Waikari and Hurunui were sent to the fire but raised it to a second alarm while they were en route, and called for backup from rural brigades. 

On arrival they found 30-40 hectares on fire. 

Some 60 personnel from all over North Canterbury battled the fire, with four pumps, nine tankers and two rural fire appliances as well as command and support units and heavy machinery. 

The fire is now contained. 

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here.

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