Authority calls for fireworks ban after second fire at Mt Wellington in six months

The group charged with overseeing Auckland's Mt Wellington has blamed fireworks for a blaze at the Auckland landmark last night, prompting a call to ban all private fireworks sales. 

Mt Wellington scrub fire. Source: Kay Bryne.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand responded to reports of fireworks as well as large groups on Mt Wellington before the fire broke out around 6.30pm. 

But the fire agency says investigators aren't certain the blaze was caused by fireworks as its cause is still undetermined. Authorities are, however, sounding alarm at the number of people on the mountain last night. 

"When they went up there were groups of people, up to 50 people," said Auckland City assistant area commander Barry Fox. 

If confirmed, it would be the second fire sparked by fireworks on Mount Wellingtion within six months. Fireworks were the cause of fires on Mount Wellington, Mount Eden and Mount Victoria on Guy Fawkes Day last year. 

Mr Fox said despite the calls of apparent fireworks sightings, firefighters did not initially see any signs of a fire or fireworks on their first visit. 

"It could be fireworks, deliberately lit or a cigarette, but it was certainly an avoidable fire," he said. "We just want New Zealand not to light these avoidable fires. Plenty of people are lighting fires and we have to respond and break our bubbles." 

Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority chairman Paul Majurey is calling for stronger restrictions to control the threat that fireworks pose to the community and emergency services. 

"Only a national ban on the sale of fireworks will prevent them being in the hands of people who continue to put the public and our ancestral heritage at risk." 

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There were nearly 90 emergency services call outs due to fireworks around New Zealand on Guy Fawkes night, 2019. Source: Breakfast

He says last night's fire was the "last straw" for the authority and will be seeking further Government action when it comes to the sale of fireworks "as soon as life returns to some sense of normalcy".