13 Jan 2014

DoC to look at recovering fire costs

3:32 pm on 13 January 2014

The Department of Conservation will look at recovering the costs of battling a fire which almost completely wiped out the vegetation on an island in Lake Tekapo.

About 90% of the trees on Motuariki Island, including 100-year-old pines, were destroyed.

DoC rural fire officer Tom Barr said an investigation has begun into the cause of the fire and whether anyone is culpable for it. The outcome of that investigation will determine whether the department seeks costs from anyone.

Police have said that the fire was started by three British campers and it may have been sparked by a cigarette butt.

Mr Barr said the fire contained, but it is likely that the deep undergrowth will continue smouldering in some areas until there is substanial rain. He is urging people to stay away from the island for their own safety, saying weakened large trees could topple.

Most of the trees on the island have been destroyed.

Most of the trees on the island have been destroyed. Photo: KEVIN BOWIE