Firefighters have doused a 10-hectare bush fire in the hills above Taita College in the Hutt Valley.
Crews would probably return in the morning to check for hot spots, a Fire Service spokesman said.
The fire began about 2.30pm this afternoon in the hills above Eastern Hutt Rd.
At its peak around 4pm it was attended by two helicopters, 10 fire crews and the Wellington Rural Fire Service.
The Firefighters left the scene tonight after putting the fire out.
There was no information as yet on how the fire had started.
Dozens of nearby residents, teachers and school children flocked to the college's field this afternoon to watch emergency services, which had set up on the field beneath the hills.
Witnesses at the scene say the fire started shortly after school finished.
The fire might have threatened Taita College and The Learning Connexion if weather conditions had been different, said Dennis Berdinner, a facilitator at the Eastern Hutt Rd art centre.
"Had the wind been coming from a different quarter, we would not be sitting here now."
Photography students had taken advantage of the drama to put their skills to use, Mr Berdinner said.
Becky Wysocki, a youth worker at Taita College, said teachers were in a meeting when the noise of the fire alerted them to it at 3.30pm.
The teachers watched the fire from the entrance to the college, as its rear buildings were close to the smoke-filled hills. Students went home early on a Tuesday, at 2.15 pm, but several remained at school and watched the fire, she said.
Shaftesbury Grove resident Phillip Angus could not see the fire from his home but could see the helicopters attending it.
Mr Angus and his family were evacuated in another large fire in the same place 15 years ago.
The fire started around 2.30pm, said Boyd Atkinson, attending fire officer.
No homes or buildings were threatened by the fire, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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