New Zealand — Day trippers tackled a grass fire at Kai Iwi Lakes last week,possibly preventing a major blaze.
Kaipara emergency support officer Jim Goodland said last Tueday?s fire burntan area of long grass on a hillside just inside the main gate and was controlledby people at the domain before Donnellys Crossing and Dargaville fire unitsarrived.
?They were mostly young fellows, including one who used a brand new towel tobeat the flames and whose mother was not pleased.?
Although only a small area burned, the fire was potentially dangerous becausethe ungrazed grass was long and there was a risk of it spreading into manukaaround Lake Kai Iwi, Mr Goodland says.
?There was some consideration given to evacuating campers and police attendedbut it wasn?t necessary. Fortunately there wasn?t a lot of wind.?
The fire could have been associated with vehicles seen ?hooning around?despite signs banning them, he says. ?But we don?t know the cause. It could havebeen a spark, a hot exhaust on the long grass, a cigarette or possibly evendeliberately lit.?
Mr Goodland welcomed the quick intervention by lakes visitors but urgescaution.
?The number one priority is to alert the authorities. And when consideringfighting any fire look at what you are wearing and what experience you have. Itis easy to get seriously burnt if you are wearing jandals or shorts, or worse,you could get cut off.?
Trounson-Donnellys Crossing Volunteer Fire Force had borrowed a fire trucktwo hours before it was called to the lakes.
Spokesman Dave Collyer said the group?s 4X4 had reached its use-by date andthe Kaipara District Council had loaned the fire force a replacement vehicle.
The borrowed truck proved its worth and the council may have ?a little difficulty? getting it back, Mr Goodland says.
Meanwhile, the council reintroduced its total fire ban last Friday night.
On Friday morning Mr Goodland said only about 2.5mm of rain had fallen and hewasn?t expecting a lot more. ?We need 100mm over several days to make any realimpression on the fire risk.?