Cecil Peak fire under control
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
The Cecil Peak landowners have been ruled out of any involvement with the fire that spread on the peak last night.
The fire crept up Cecil Peak from the lake's waterline last night, billowing smoke clouds and flames visible from Queenstown.
Two Queenstown Lakes District Council and Department of Conservation fire crews, plus two helicopters were dampening hotspots on the peak's lower slopes this morning.
A council press release ruled out any cause of the blaze being linked to Cecil Peak landowners - and gave notice firefighting costs were being pursued.
''If those responsible can be identified, they will be liable for the costs of fighting the fire,'' the release says.
Council general manager of operations Ruth Stokes said a dawn aerial inspection assessed the fire as being "well under control.
''No fire crews were sent to Cecil Peak last night because the risk of fighting fires in the dark outweighed the need to bring the fire under control, given its remote location and the terrain, Ms Stokes said.
Calm, humid conditions last night and this morning had minimised any spread of the blaze.
Police have questioned two men seen sped by boat across Lake Wakatipu from the scene of a fire but they have denied any involvement.
Senior constable Chris Blackford said two men were seen ''speeding'' across Lake Wakatipu from Cecil Peak at 8.45pm in a small boat.
The men were questioned by police when they landed at Queenstown Bay, but denied any involvement in the blaze.
Police inquiries are continuing.
- The Southland Times
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