Three rural fires which were meant to be controlled burn-offs, have destoyed about 30 hectares of forest in Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes districts.
The land was managed by the Department of Conservation.
The fires have prompted DoC to urge farmers to take better precautions during spring burn-offs of tussock grasslands.
Otago deputy principal rural fire officer Trevor Mitchell, says anyone responsible for a fire which spreads on to conservation land can be held liable for the cost of putting it out.
He says farmers need to check the weather forecast and read their permits before they light up.