Greater Wellington regional council is urging people to heed the total fire ban at Porirua's Whitireia Park after a small fire on the park's western beach on Sunday.
The driftwood fire flared up in the late afternoon, covering an area of about 20 metres by 30 metres, and was put down by fire crews by 9pm.
"The cause appeared to be a beach fire that wasn't properly extinguished. In fact, our parks staff had noticed an increase in evidence of beach fires, such as charred driftwood, before the fire on Sunday," regional council western principal ranger Wayne Boness said.
"After the devastating effects of the February 2010 fire in Whitireia Park, no one wants to see another fire. The risks to nearby residents and the park itself are enormous. That's why we have a total fire ban at the park - so it's disappointing that a few are taking a risk that could affect so many. It's very fortunate that the fire was put out before it spread beyond the driftwood."
With dry summer conditions he said people should take extra care even in regional parks that don't have a total fire ban.
"Embers can flare up after you think you've dampened them down - you really need to be absolutely sure that there's no potential for a flare-up. And smokers, make sure your cigarette butts are fully extinguished."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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