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The actions of a person who set fire to bundles of old newspapers inland from Oamaru on Tuesday night are being described as "absolute stupidity" that could have resulted in a far bigger blaze.
A pair of appliances from the Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade were called to the fire in Kakanui Valley Rd shortly after 7.30pm on Tuesday and arrived to find the blaze well involved.
Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Bevan Koppert said the fire at a dry riverbed near Gemmells Crossing was brought under control relatively quickly, but could have been more of a struggle to deal with given the parched conditions in the area.
"By the look of it it was a bunch of old, undelivered newspapers. Obviously, someone set fire to them and people around the area were really concerned because there’s a lot of dry gorse and grass. Consequently, we got called to put it out.
"It’s absolute stupidity. Even though it’s in a riverbed there’s a lot of dry gorse around the edges of it. It wouldn’t have taken much wind to blow it around and we would have had a far bigger fire than we had at the time."
Otago is in a restricted fire season, which means a permit is required to light a fire.