NZ Local News

Fire on Te Mata Peak: Witness says he heard bangs that sounded like fireworks, then saw flames

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A fire breaks out at the summit of Te Mata Peak, near Havelock North. Photo / Chris Morris

A fire has broken out at the summit of Te Mata Peak.

Firefighters were called to the renowned Hawke’s Bay attraction, which has been the site of several fires started by fireworks in recent years, about 8.37pm on Friday.

Witness at the scene Chris Morris said four fire trucks had travelled up Te Mata Peak Rd towards the blaze.

The fire was initially spreading fast and had reached 100 metres down the steep eastern slope towards Craggy Range, he said.

But once firefighters had reached the summit and began attacking it with hoses it had come largely under control by 9.15pm, Morris said.

Morris said fireworks were banned on Te Mata Peak, which he mountain bikes along five nights a week, but he feared something might happen when he heard the bangs of them before the fire.

“I was going to call the police line 105 because all I could think was ‘what idiots’ and then I saw the flames.”

The fire had spread about 100m down the steep eastern slope towards Craggy Range. Photo / Paul Taylor
The fire had spread about 100m down the steep eastern slope towards Craggy Range. Photo / Paul Taylor

He said some of the crowd of people watching the fire with him from his vantage point were laughing as it spread.

“We all really care about the Peak – so much work goes into it and it’s a really important part of Hawke’s Bay – and I found that quite disgraceful actually.

“It’s just lucky in some respects that it’s not tinder dry, but firefighters have better things to do than travel up a narrow winding road to put this out.”

A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesperson said four fire trucks were in attendance but no further information was available at this stage.

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