Waiharara fire still within containment lines

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Waiharara fire still within containment lines

Firefighting efforts today have so far held the Waiharara fire within the containment lines.

Fire and Emergency Incident Controller John Sutton says the easterly wind has been pushing the fire towards the western flank of the fireground, and smoke from the fire is noticeable in Houhora and Pukenui - two communities that have not been affected by smoke for over a week.

Smoke is also impacting visibility on SH1 and Waka Kotahi is advising motorists to expect delays and avoid the area if possible.

Firefighters, helicopters and heavy machinery have been back in the area north of Kaimaumau today, where the fire broke out of the containment line yesterday. Mr Sutton says that they have been able to widen the firebreak and make it more robust.

Crews will once again be patrolling the village overnight as a precaution.

The northwest sector of the fireground has also been a focus today. The conditions are challenging for firefighters. Heat, wind and humidity are compounded by the wetland terrain, where it is not always possible to use heavy machinery. The fire is burning underground in the peat in some places, while in others there is native vegetation, scrub and trees.

This will be the last update on the Waiharara fire today unless the situation changes.