A large patch of scorched dune plants in Arataki is a timely reminder for people to take fire safety seriously this summer.
The fire service responded last Wednesday afternoon to the incident to the east of the end of Waiariki Street.
Local resident Richard Parrott took photos of the damage and the fire crew who responded. He thinks it was started “by a bunch of young guys who left beer bottles at the scene.”
Fire safety officer John Rewi says bonfires on the beach can increase the fire risk at this time of year.
“We're looking at dry weather, and it's been particularly windy this Christmas for some reason. Anybody who is lighting fires on the beach need to be mindful of that.”
He says it's just common sense to take extra precautions around fire, regardless of where it is.
He also reminds people to be aware of when and where they can light fires.
“In Opotiki, for instance, permits are required for fires in urban and rural areas.”
According to the Tauranga City Council website, fires may only be lit between 5am and 11pm on the coastal beach, which stretches from Mount Maunganui down to the Kaituna River.
All fires must be below the high tide mark, be less than one metre in diameter, and must be under supervision at all times.
The fire crew responding.