23 Feb 2012

Northern rural fires big burden

12:47 pm on 23 February 2012

Fires in rural Northland this summer have cost the region dearly.

Far North District Council says fighting fires has cost it $1 million so far this summer, bringing the total cost over the past five years to $7 million

A scrub fire near Horeke which destroyed 350 hectares of pine forest makes up the bulk of the $1 million bill.

The cost of a fire on the Karikari peninsula, in which two rural fire fighters were killed, was still being assessed.

The Rural Fire Authority aims to re-coup the cost of extinguishing fires from those who light them, but councils otherwise pick up the tab.

However, national rural fire officer Murray Dudfield says the fire risk has been kept low across the rest of the country due to wet weather, which has meant fewer call-outs than usual.

The fire-risk season runs to about April.