Taupo Rural Fire Force attended a fire at Spa Park at 3.30am on the morning of Easter Monday that affected 2 hectares of manuka, pine and scrub, and appears to have been deliberately lit.
Principal Rural Fire Officer Phil Parker said the fire had the potential to cause a lot of damage to the park, but thankfully the weather was on their side. “There was very little wind yesterday, so fortunately the fire did not spread quickly and we were able to contain it within about three hours.”
It took the rural fire crew a further six hours to dampen down the ground to the point where the fire could not flare up again. “There was no vehicle access to the fire front, so our crew had to carry fire fighting equipment into the area by foot.”
The fire was approximately 100m from the car park area, so hoses had to be laid the length of the walking track to the fire ground. Fire trucks in the car park fed water down the line to a portable dam on the fire ground, where crews were able to attack the fire directly with hoses fed by portable water pumps from the dam.
“It was quite a logistics exercise, but our training proved we were well prepared for such an event,” says Mr Parker. “I was very proud of my team of guys, they all worked very hard, and it was a shame it had to disrupt the holiday weekend.”
The rural fire crew left the site at approximately 2.30pm, handing over to the DOC fire crew who will continue to monitor the site for several days.
Mr Parker says the fire serves as a timely reminder to everyone to be vigilante when using our district’s parks and reserves. “It is unfortunate that in this case it appears to have been deliberately lit, but in any case it reminds us all of the dangers of forest and bush fires, especially in this dry weather. If you are in the bush and see smoke, call 111 and report it immediately.”