The Queenstown Lakes District Council has yet to decide
whether to prosecute or recover more than $16,000 from the
group of people believed to be responsible for a fire on
Cecil Peak on Sunday night.
Council senior communications adviser Michele Poole said the
fire cost $16,000 plus GST to fight - $13,000 of that the
cost of helicopters used to assess the area on Sunday evening
and dampen hot spots on Monday morning.
The remaining $3000 was the cost of fire crews used to
monitor and dampen hot spots, she said.
The fire began just after 8pm on Sunday, but burnt itself out
on Monday, burning about 10ha.
Six English nationals living in Queenstown, all aged 28 or
29, contacted police on Monday afternoon and visited the
station that night.
A 29-year-old man told police the group travelled to Cecil
Peak by boat intending to have a barbecue and a few drinks.
However, an unsupervised gas cooker appeared to have started
the fire, which quickly got out of control.
The group left the area by boat.
The man claimed to have told someone at the Queenstown wharf
to get the police or harbourmaster to call him.