Kaingaroa blaze treated as suspicious

The cause behind a shelter belt blaze near Kaingaroa, is being treated as suspicious.

The blaze was reported at about 1.30 on Thursday afternoon, near Middle Road in Kaingaroa.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand northern communications shift manager Daniel Nicholson says two helicopters and eight fire appliances were required to help battle the blaze.

He says initial reports showed an 80m shelter belt was on fire and had spread to a nearby paddock.

The occupants of a nearby house were evacuated as a precaution.

Mr Nicholson says ground crews managed to get the blaze under control and helicopters to completely dampen it off.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The blaze has triggered a reminder about the current fire safety risk.

Rural Fire Officer Deputy Principal Tony Guillard says the entire Pumiceland area, which includes the Kaingaroa Forest, is currently in a prohibited fire season.

He says hot and dry, fires are more likely to burn out of control and result in damage to vegetation or property, or loss of life.

Sam Gardner