A landfill fire in January which took 18 hours to extinguish and required specialist firefighting equipment could cost the Central Hawke's Bay District Council $50,000.

At a meeting today the council will be asked to authorise expenditure from the adverse events fund to pay for firefighting costs from the fire.

The $50,000 would then be paid back over a period of five years from the Solid Waste budget, meaning an increase in the budget beyond what is set out in the council's long term plan was unlikely.

Council chief executive John Freeman said the fund gave ratepayers a bit of a buffer if an event of great size occurred.

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"You have two options - you have the money sitting there like we do, or you borrow. We prefer to have the adverse events fund but if the event is major we would use the funds and also borrow."

The fire on January 6 at the Central Hawke's Bay district landfill on Farm Rd was discovered after hours by an adjacent property owner and was well alight when fire services arrived.

The fire took about 18 hours to extinguish and required the service of two rural fire brigades, five local fire brigades, and specialist firefighting equipment from the Napier Fire Service.

The council was waiting on an invoice from the New Zealand Fire Service, but the final cost was estimated to be about $50,000.

Under the Forest and Rural Fire Act 1977, the fire services can recover all costs occurred in fighting the fire.

As of January 28 the fund had a balance of $689,635. It exists as the council does not have an operational budget for events like the fire, and is not insured against such events.