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Fire defences strengthened north of Auckland

Published: 5:15AM Monday February 25, 2013 Source: ONE News

A team of 75 firefighters are working to build defences around a fire north of Auckland as winds strengthen in the area.

The fire took hold in the Dome Valley area on Saturday afternoon and has burned through more than 70 hectares of scrub land.

It is under control today but fire crews are working to ensure it does not spread further.

"Last night a small area of flames escaped the containment lines; however the helicopters were able to stop any further spread this morning," Principal Rural Fire Officer Bryan Cartelle said.

"We have a large presence on the ground today all working to get the containment lines as strong as possible before dark."

Cartelle said the region is tinder dry and the wind is expected to pick up slightly in the Matakana region this afternoon.

"The forecast is hot and dry, so I again would remind everyone that there is a complete fire ban," he said.

"Everyone needs to do their part, which is simple stuff - no open flames and don't take risks. A spark can start a fire."

The Fire Service is investigating the cause of the fire.

The Matakana blaze is the latest in a busy summer for the Rural Fire Service which has been stretched in recent weeks by large scrub fires on Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island.

"It's been a testing period over the last month or so. But that's the cards we get dealt unfortunately at times and we're here to put them out," Cartelle said.

The Matakana fire is the second to strike the area this week. The first, west of Wellsford in Tapora, is contained but still active and crew remain on site.