11 Feb 2010

Arson suspected in big scrub fire

3:19 pm on 11 February 2010

Firefighters believe a big scrub fire in the Far North was deliberately lit.

The fire in the Kaimaumau peatlands north of Kaitaia started on Wednesday and covered about 100 hectares.

Five helicopters were working on the fire at its peak, but that's been scaled back to one, with about 40 firefighters on the ground.

Principal fire officer Kevin Ihaka says the fire started in the same area where similar fires have been lit in the past, and appears to be arson.

Seawater is now being pumped into underground layers of peat where the fire is smouldering. He says putting it out will take weeks.