Firefighting cost recovery sought

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is preparing to lodge an application with the National Rural Fire Authority to recover the cost of a fire at Cecil Peak in March.

The fire broke out after a group of six English people, all living in Queenstown, visited the area on a borrowed boat, intending to have a barbecue and a few drinks.

A 29-year-old male later told Queenstown police an unattended gas cooker appeared to start the fire, which quickly got out of control. The group left the area on the boat, called 111 and returned to Queenstown.

They were later asked by the council to cover the cost of fighting the fire - $16,000 plus GST, including $13,000 for helicopters.

When the Otago Daily Times asked whether any of the money had been paid, the council replied it was preparing an application to the National Rural Fire Authority to recover the cost.

Council senior communications adviser Michele Poole said if the application was accepted, the council would proceed with action to recover the cost.