A helicopter is used to dump water at the base of Cecil
Peak yesterday where a fire had raged the night before.
Photo by DOC.
Cecil Peak Station manager Philip Rive is thankful the
fire which he estimated burnt up to 10ha on the lower slopes of
the peak on Sunday night did not occur two weeks ago when the
weather was warmer.
If it had, Mr Rive said the fire ''would have spread right up
''We're pretty lucky.''
The land is used for grazing but all stock was shifted in
January. He was hopeful it would recover quickly with
fertiliser and seed.
Senior Constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, yesterday
said two men who were seen speeding away in a small boat
after the fire began were spoken to.
''They denied any involvement,'' Snr Const Blackford said.
Mr Rive said ''mistakes and accidents do happen''.
His message to anyone in an accidental fire was ''you're
better off making a call [for help] straight away''.
''If we had have been half an hour earlier we could have had
Instead, the remote fire, which began after 8pm, was deemed
too dangerous for fire crews to fight in the dark and was
left to burn into the night.
It was still burning at 10pm.
However, apart from hot spots yesterday morning, the fire had
burnt itself out. Mr Rive was grateful for the effect of the
dew on the ground.
''That's what really stopped it.''
He said a marginal strip of land at the base of Cecil Peak,
which was administered by the Department of Conservation, was
a popular picnic spot.
''It's great to see people being able to use and enjoy
He was ''sure the fire wasn't deliberately lit''.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister John Key unveiled a
high-altitude golf green on Cecil Peak, but a statement from
Over the Top Golf said the par-3 golf hole was ''well above''
Two rural fire crews from the Queenstown Lakes District
Council and Doc, supported by two helicopters, finished
dampening down hot spots yesterday.
Doc incident controller Mark Mawhinney said the area would
continue to be monitored.
Warm weather is forecast to continue for several days.
Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.
Both Doc and the council issued a reminder that a total fire
ban is in place across the Queenstown Lakes District, which
effectively rules out all open campfires.