Six English people living in Queenstown will be asked to
cover the cost of fighting a fire at Cecil Peak earlier this
Queenstown Lakes District Council operations general manager
Ruth Stokes said Queenstown police had supplied a formal
statement about the circumstances around the fire, which
broke out on Cecil Peak on March 9.
''As a result, QLDC is taking steps to recover the cost of
fighting the fire from those responsible.''
The group would be asked to cover the full cost of fighting
the fire: $16,000 plus GST. Of that, $13,000 was for the
helicopters used to assess the area at the time of the fire
and dampen hot spots next day.
The remaining $3000 was the cost of fire crews. Council
senior communications adviser Michele Poole said if the
council was unable to recover the cost from the group, it
could apply to the National Rural Fire Authority.
The council was unable to confirm if there was a deadline for
payment, or if there was a payment scheme available.
It is understood Queenstown police will not be prosecuting
The Otago Daily Times reported last week a group of
six English people, all aged 28 or 29, contacted Queenstown
police the day after the fire and visited the station that
night to provide statements.
One, a 29-year-old man, said the group had borrowed a boat to
travel to Cecil Peak where they intended to have a barbecue
and a few drinks.
However, shortly after they arrived, an unattended gas cooker
appeared to have started the fire, which quickly got out of
The man told police the group called 111, providing details
of the fire and its location, before leaving the area.