MIL OSI – Source: Department of Conservation – Release/Statement
Headline: Fire risk on the rise
Date: 12 December 2017
Senior Ranger Jo Mendonca is especially concerned that people understand that the fire risk is currently very high and likely to progress to a total fire ban this month. She describes the forests around the Rotorua Lakes as particularly vulnerable as more people are out and about boating, fishing, tramping and camping.
“The vegetation types around many of the Rotorua lakes are highly flammable, even when there has been some rain it dries out very quickly” says Ms Mendonca. For this reason, camping is restricted to designated areas only.
Fires on public conservation land around the lakes are prohibited. The effect of fire on vegetation and wildlife can be catastrophic and potentially very costly. Offenders may be held personally liable for these costs.
Ms Mendonca is keen for everyone to enjoy their outdoor activities. “Typically, it’s a small number of people spoiling things for the others by lighting illegal fires, taking dogs into protected areas or camping in areas where it isn’t permitted.”
A team of rangers will be visiting key sites around the lakes this week to ensure there is plenty of signage to remind people of the regulations that are there to protect the environment and the public.
For those wanting to camp these holidays DOC is reminding people that camping is only permitted at designated areas. DOC campsites with road access include Lake Tarawera Outlet (Te Tapahoro), Lake Okareka, Brett Road and Ashpit Road at Rerewhakaaitu. For the more remote experience of Hot Water Beach, Humphries Bay is accessed by walking or boat only. No camping is permitted on public conservation land around Lake Rotoiti, Rotoma or Okataina,
Hot Water Beach campsites must be booked and details on this and facilities provided at all these campsites are available from the DOC website.
To report any suspected illegal activity on public conservation land phone 0800 DOCHOT (0800 362 468).