Fire risk on the rise
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionDOC rangers in the Rotorua area are preparing for a hot dry summer and the extreme fire risk that comes with it.
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).
Margaret Metcalfe, Senior Ranger, Community
Mobile: +64 27 423 5560