CHB fire: State Highway 2 closed as 20-hectare blaze reaches road, ignites hay bales

State Highway 2 has been closed near Takapau after a large grass fire rampaged across farm paddocks and hay bales and reached the road on Thursday afternoon.

At 4.30pm the cordons were widened by emergency services and were now between State Highway 50 and Ashcott Road.

A Hawke’s Bay Today reporter on the scene said the fire broke out about 2.40pm and had reached the road by about 3.17pm, driven by strong winds.

She said police helped to drive tractors off the paddocks as the fire advanced.

“The tractors and machinery were being driven from the paddocks as the flames raced across the dry grass toward them.

“Minutes later the flames had reached the roadside and the fence battens were ablaze. The road disappeared under clouds of smoke.”

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said the fire was estimated to be about 20 hectares in size and included many stacks of large round hay bales on fire.

A plane, two helicopters and about 11 fire appliances and a command vehicle are believed to be responding, he said.

He said there were no injuries and no indication of evacuations being ordered yet.

By 4.30pm the worst of the blaze was beside the highway and the road would likely be closed for some time, a police spokesman said.

A total fire ban is in place across Hawke’s Bay, after the region entered a prohibited fire season last week.

The fire ban extends across the whole of the East Coast from East Cape to Takapau.

No outdoor fires, including burning braziers and incinerators, are allowed due to the increased fire danger.

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