Bottle Lake Forest fire prompts warning

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 08:21 24/01/2014

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A suspicious fire that ripped through part of Bottle Lake Forest has prompted a warning about the increased risk of fire in Christchurch during summer.

Yesterday's incident was reported near Landfill Ave, inside the popular Parklands' forest, just before 11am.

The fire burnt through about 200 square metres of vegetation before firefighters from the Wainoni station were able to contain it.

The fire was being treated as suspicious and police had been notified. 

The incident has prompted a reminder from the Christchurch City Council's rural fire team about the district's fire restrictions during the hot and dry summer period.

Civil Defence manager Murray Sinclair said summer's higher temperatures were likely to dry out easily flammable items like grass and timber, posing a greater fire risk for the district. 

Fire restrictions have been in place across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula towns since December 23, banning all outdoor fires except barbeques and hangi.

Those wanting to set fires in rural areas needed to get a permit from the council.

The district's fire restrictions were in place "with the safety of the public as our priority", Sinclair said.

Those starting fires could face penalties and cost recoveries for firefighting.  

"Do not start a fire that has the potential to escape, for instance in hot windy conditions."

Yesterday's incident followed three other suspicious fires in Christchurch within 12 hours. 

Firefighters were first called to a small fire in a two-storey state house on Shirley Rd about 7.10pm on Wednesday. 

That incident was followed by suspicious fires in a red-zoned Stanmore Rd flat about 5.40am yesterday and at a sleep-out on nearby River Rd about 6.15am. 

Sinclair urged anyone who saw unexplained smoke to alert emergency services immediately by calling 111. 

Anyone with information on any of the suspicious fires is asked to call Christchurch police on 03 363 7400, or they can provide information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

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- The Press

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