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Fire in Taitā cemetery, Lower Hutt under control

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A fire broke out this morning at a cemetery in Lower Hutt, just one hour after fire restrictions were eased for the city.

Firefighters have now brought the blaze under control after it started at or near Taitā cemetery in Naenae.

Witness Latisha Robinson said she noticed the fire at 9am and called 111. She spotted the fire from Naenae Rd as she was heading to work. Bright orange flames could be seen leaping into the air in the bushy area.

“There’s heaps of sirens going off,” Robinson said.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) shift manager Murray Dunbar said they received a call at 9.01am and arrived shortly after.

At 9.20am, firefighters were working to reach the blaze.

Shortly before 11am, Dunbar said the fire was “under control”, adding crews were dampening down hotspots. Seven fire trucks were at the scene, including a tanker.

Fenz yesterday announced the Hutt Valley, Wellington, Porirua and Kāpiti Coast areas were moving from a prohibited fire season to a restricted one as of 8am today.

A fire can be seen at the Taitā cemetery in Lower Hutt.
A fire can be seen at the Taitā cemetery in Lower Hutt.

“This means that some types of fire will require a permit to burn from Fire and Emergency NZ,” a social media post said.

“Remember that conditions in the area are still quite dry, so care is needed, even if you have a permit – especially for heavier fuels like logs and trees. Any fire that gets out of control may be difficult to extinguish, tying up our resources for a significant period of time.”

Conditions in the Hutt this morning are windy, with strong northwesterlies and gales forecast in exposed places, gusting up to 90 km/h, according to MetService.

Melissa Nightingale is a Wellington-based reporter who covers crime, justice and news in the capital. She joined the Herald in 2016 and has worked as a journalist for 10 years.

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