6 Mar 2015

Northland residents evacuate after wind change

5:53 pm on 6 March 2015

Fire fighters battling a Northland forest fire say many residents in the area have decided to evacuate after the wind changed direction this afternoon.

The fire, which stretches about 10 kilometres, is only half contained.

Spokesperson for the Department of Conservation, Sue Reed-Thomas, said the firefighters' efforts are now focused on preventing the wind from pushing the fire towards homes and baches in Kelly's Bay.

She says at least half of the 40 residents have already chosen to leave.

The fire was first reported on Monday and has already destroyed more than 200 hectares of pine forest.

The fire in the hills above Kellys Bay, on the eastern side of Poutou peninsula, had been burning since Monday night.

The Department of Conservation was earlier using machinery to open up more fire breaks and residents were still on standby in case they needed to evacuate.