12 Mar 2013

Manurewa police urge parents to watch children closely, after fire

9:29 am on 12 March 2013

Police in South Auckland are urging parents to keep a close eye on their children following a deliberately lit scrub fire in Manurewa.

It burnt 1400 square metres of a public reserve beside the foreshore at Clendon Park on Sunday, with the smoke forcing the evacuation of about 45 homes.

It was the third callout to a scrub fire in Clendon Park in the past week. In January, a scrub fire threatened homes in the same area.

Acting Manurewa area commander Richard Wilkie says four young people were seen by witnesses in the area on Sunday.

He's appealing to parents to make sure they know where their children are and that they know how dangerous the conditions are at the moment.

Inspector Wilkie says Sunday's fire and other smaller ones in the area are likely to have been started by young people experimenting with fire.

He says children need to understand that a small fire can quickly get out of hand in such dry conditions.

Yvonne Amery has lived in the area for 21 years and says it's only a matter of time before one of the fires gets out of hand.

Steve Bowden lives on one of the streets that had to be evacuated.

"(The fires have) happened before, it's always (in) summer time, around that area and the same thing, it's always deliberately lit."

He says it was first time he has had to leave his home because of the fires and fears residents won't be as lucky next time.