Firefighters are scouring the hills around Cape Reinga as they look to stay on top of a scrub fire that has burnt through the countryside.
Ground crews and helicopters have been battling the fire, in highly flammable scrub, since Tuesday afternoon.
After getting on top of the fire on Thursday, there are now 60 ground crew patrolling the countryside looking for hot spots and preventing flare-ups, said incident controller Rory Renwick.
He said the crews were remaining vigilant as just a few hot, dry days in a row can reignite scrub fires which are “almost impossible to stop”.
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They are also keeping an eye on the weather conditions – which are windy and humid on Friday, ahead of a thunderstorm brewing for Saturday.
A storm would mean many aerial units – such as helicopters and drones – would have to be grounded.
About 40 ground crew were flown into the fire site early on Thursday, as the steep terrain has no roads and is inaccessible even to four-wheel-drives and quad vehicles, Renwick said.
As the worst of the fire has subsided, Renwick said he planned on flying a drone with thermal imaging capabilities during the night on Friday.
He said he hoped to spot any danger areas that needed more attention from ground crews to prevent a flare-ups.
Seven helicopters with monsoon buckets will also work with firefighters on the ground.
After a more precise assessment of the size of the fire, Renwick and his crew concluded the blaze has consumed 294 hectares so far. The fire ground has a 19km perimeter.
Helicopters and ground crew continue to fight the Cape Reinga fire.
State Highway 1 reopened on Thursday, with Renwick reminding drivers to take care when navigating the road.
The fire is through highly flammable mānuka, kānuka and gorse – all of which can burn even when there is no drought, Renwick said.
Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua is a place of cultural, environmental and recreational significance, especially to Ngāti Kuri iwi – who alerted firefighters to the blaze and had been proactive in firefighting efforts.
It is known by Māori as the place where spirits last set foot on the Land of the Long White Cloud before making their way to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki.