Counting cost of three scrub fires
Ratepayers may have to pick up the bill for three scrub fires lit deliberately in Bothamley Park, East Porirua, last week.
Seven fire engines attended the blazes, lit between 1pm and 3pm on February 27.
The fires were lit at the bottom end of Bothamley Park off Champion St. The largest burnt area was 200 square metres. A man in dark clothes was seen at the scene of one of the fires.
Porirua City Council officers had recently cleared gorse and blackberry at the bottom of the park to create a picnic area, which unfortunately has raised the area’s vulnerability to fire, a Porirua fire spokesman said.
Fires lit from vegetation, as opposed to buildings, are paid for by local councils, except for the first $1000, which is funded by the New Zealand Fire Service.
The fires last Monday led to a bill of several thousand dollars, council principal rural fire officer Peter Chapman estimated.
‘‘The Rural Fire Authority has a policy of taking a hard line by seeking to recover full costs from those responsible for setting fires,’’ Mr Chapman said.