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Fire flares up again on Matakana Island

The fire on Matakana Island. Photo: Glenda Maplesden. Video: Gui Calmelet from Skydive Tauranga

Click the image above to watch the video

Update: 5.30pm

Fire crews from Tauranga have joined other fire fighters on Matakana Island this afternoon to fight a fire which has jumped a fire break.

A helicopter is also assisting.

Last Sunday firefighters were called to a fire on Matakana Island after the skipper of the Kewpie, Amy Neale first noticed it about 3pm.

A team of fire fighters was sent to the scene and helicopters used monsoon buckets to help put out the fire that had taken hold on the ocean side of the island.

During the week following the fire, a crew of fire fighters have been dampening down hot spots and monitoring it.

This afternoon the fire jumped the fire break and FENZ shift manager Paul Radden says the fire crews are attempting to get it back under control.

Smoke from this afternoon's fire was seen from Whakamarama, Maungatapu, and Papamoa.

Sonia Bernard says she can smell the smoke from her home in Bethlehem. Bridget London says it rained ash in Otumoetai.

The fire on Matakana Island. Photo: Glenda Maplesden

The fire rained down ash in Otumoetai. Photo: Bridget London.

The fire on Matakana Island. Photo: Glenda Maplesden

The fire on Matakana Island. Photo: Glenda Maplesden

Matakana Island fire. Photo: Gui Calmelet from Skydive Tauranga

Matakana Island fire. Photo: Gui Calmelet from Skydive Tauranga

Matakana Island fire. Photo: Gui Calmelet from Skydive Tauranga

Matakana Island fire. Photo: Gui Calmelet from Skydive Tauranga

The fire on Matakana Island was noticed by a resident in Whakamarama about 1pm on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Lee Cooper

The smoke from Matakana Island spreading across the Bay of Plenty, as viewed from Minden Rd, Te Puna. Photo: Andrew Scott

Update. 4.15pm

A helicopter and fire crews have joined island fire crew to tackle a fire that has rapidly spread on Matakana Island this afternoon.

"We have a couple of crews coming across from the mainland," says FENZ shift manager Paul Radden.

"And also aerial operations with a helicopter in use."

Radden says the crews are attempting to get a fire under control that had jumped the fire break.

The fire had started last Sunday with fire fighters monitoring it during the week and dampening down hot spots.

This afternoon around 1pm, the fire took off in a new direction, with smoke being seen from as far away as Whakamarama.

Sonia Bernard says she can smell the smoke from her home in Bethlehem. Other readers report having ash descending on their properties in Otumoetai.

The fire at 4.15pm from Whakamarama. Photo: Martin Braim

Photo: Noah Blair

Photo: Sonia Bernard

The smoke at Matakana Island can be seen from across the Tauranga harbour. Photo: Cameron Avery

3.10pm Update:  There are reports of an increasing amount of smoke billowing from Matakana Island this afternoon.

Smoke can be seen rising into the air by SunLive readers living in Maungatapu, Whakamarama and Otumoetai.

Fire Emergency NZ confirm that a fire crew on the island has been dealing with the fire since it first broke out last Sunday.

Just after 1pm, Martin Braim spotted smoke at the island from his property in Whakamarama. Over the following two hours the amount of smoke rising into the air has increased and is drifting towards Mount Maunganui.

The fire around 3pm from Whakamarama. Photo: Martin Braim.

Earlier, 1.45pm: Sunlive readers from Whakamarama and Otumoetai are reporting seeing a plume of smoke rising from Matakana Island this afternoon.

Fire Emergency NZ have confirmed that there are fire fighters out on the island still dealing with the fire that began last Sunday.

"We still have crew on the island continuing to dampen down hot spots and monitor the situation there," says FENZ shift manager Paul Radden. "They are local island crew.

"It's an ongoing fire fighting operation from the original incident."

At the scene? Phone 0800 SUNLIVE or email newsroom@thesun.co.nz

The fire on Matakana Island photographed soon after 1pm from Whakamarama. Photo: Martin Braim

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Ash

Posted on 19-12-2020 17:05 | By

There’s a lot of decent size pieces of ash dropping all over my house in Matua