Wanaka Police have appealed for information following two scrub fires started by people shooting fireworks from a ute early last month. no new leads have been forthcoming.
At around 5.20pm on Friday, November 2, a roman candle-type firework was lit and fired from the passenger side of the ute on State Highway 6 near the Hawea Dam structure. The firework sparked a scrub fire on the bank on the west side of the road, which quickly spread to a forested area near five houses.
It took fire crews from Lake Hawea, Wanaka, Makarora, Luggate, Tarras, Dunstan, Blackstone and Glenorchy, with air support from five helicopters with monsoon buckets, to extinguish the blaze, before it reached the houses.
New Zealand Police, Department of Conservation, Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management, New Zealand Transport Agency and Queenstown Lakes District Council were also involved in the operation.
Police said another roman candle firework was fired from the same vehicle from a carpark at Cameron Creek near Makarora on State Highway 6 at around 6.30pm. This also started a fire in a grass area, which was put out by the people in the ute.
The ute is described as a dark-coloured Mitsubishi Triton with a wooden deck.
Constable Gregory Nolet said in statement released to media, four men in their mid 20s were seen in the ute.
“This was reckless and dangerous behaviour that put lives and homes at risk.”
Police would like to hear from anyone in the area at the time that witnessed the incidents, anyone who can identify the ute or the four men in it. They are asked to contact the Wanaka Police on (03) 443 7272.