Count­ing cost of three scrub fires

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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