As the fire danger continues to increase in the area, Muriwhenua moved into prohibited fire season last month, until further notice. This means no open-air fires will be permitted in the Far North.
Declaring the prohibited season, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Northland District Manager, Wipari Henwood, said the high westerly winds are already causing ‘spike days’ to occur where the fire danger is hitting the highest level of ‘extreme’.
"There is a major risk in Muriwhenua of a fire occurring that we will be unable to control.
"As we have seen with recent fires in this area, it takes a number of aircraft to contain and control wildfires in Muri Whenua. This is a very remote area, with the nearest firefighting aircraft more than an hour away.”
The most recent large wildfire in the Far North was in March 2023 near Cape Reinga. It took eight days to extinguish at a cost of more than $1.5 million. The fire near Waiharara in 2021/2022 burnt for 50 days at a cost of more than $10 million.
"It’s these sorts of fires which we are trying to avoid by implementing a prohibited fire season now," Mr Henwood said.
"We consulted with the Department of Conversation and Summit Forestry, and they both supported the prohibited fire season coming into effect."
The Muri Whenua boundary is as follows: Northern side of State Highway (SH) 10 from Taipa to Awanui, west of SH1 to Kaitaia, west side of Pukepoto Road to Kaitaia-Awaroa Road, north side of Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd to Wainui, west side of Kaitaia-Awaroa Rd Wainui to Herekino, north side of the Herekino harbour.
Anyone who is unsure if they are inside this boundary should visit www.checkitsalright.nz to check.