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Fire And Emergency Transitions To Monitoring Phase At Matakana Island

Fire and Emergency is transitioning to a monitoring phase at Matakana Island before commencing the process of handing the fire ground back to the landowners.

The fire, which started last Saturday 23 December, burnt through approximately 41 hectares of scrub and pine slash.

Over the last week 18 brigades from across the Bay of Plenty, down to Lake Taupo and north to Paeroa, have worked to bring the fire under control.

"Crews worked incredibly hard over the last week to initially suppress and then reinforce containment lines to make sure the fire can’t break out," says Incident Controller Jeff Maunder.

"We have met with Forestry, landowners and the community and will now work alongside them to ensure the fireground is safely returned to them."

Water carts and diggers will remain on site and the Matakana Island Volunteer Fire Brigade will monitor the fire ground until we are all confident the fire can be officially declared as out.

"As we enter this monitoring phase, we have plans in place to escalate back to a response if required."

Jeff Maunder says crews will continue to use drones and thermal imagery alongside ground patrols, to capture hotspots in dangerous locations that could reignite a large fire.

"We would like to thank the Matakana Island community for all the food donations, support and well-wishes over the last week, especially over the holidays.

"Our crews sacrificed Christmas with their loved ones to bring this fire under control and I am incredibly proud of their hard work.

"The fire ground remains off limits to the public as it is still an operational area for our crews and there may be further hidden hazards including unstable trees or ash pits."

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

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