Large piles of tinder-dry pine slash in an area by a popular and important forest area in Ōtaki Beach poses a fire risk, a concerned resident fears.
Nicky Treadwell, who lives in Rangiuru Rd, said lots of pine trees were cut down in a privately owned area next to a popular public area.
The cutting happened before Christmas but piles of branches, known as slash, hadn't been removed.
Treadwell said she was very concerned "to the point of being fearful that a fire may start in the pine slash and set the forest, to which my house is adjacent, on fire".
Worried about a fire risk, especially with a hot summer and autumn, she contacted Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) through its 0800 hazard advice line.
She hoped the authority would investigate and, if it was considered a hazard, ask the owner of the private land to remedy it.
But a FENZ specialist fire investigator conducted an investigation and, after a lengthy process, wrote to her stating the "fallen trees do not constitute a hazard within our guidelines.
"It is appreciated that at this time of the year fuel like that may be interpreted as a threat or risk by some, and your concern regarding the frequent walkers in the area is also noted."
Treadwell said she was "fairly gobsmacked" by the assessment.
The private land is sandwiched among the southern end of the wider Ōtaki Beach Conservation Area.
The conservation area is under Department of Conservation stewardship, while a local iwi Treaty claim for the land was settled.
Treadwell said the conservation area was popular with people.
"Many people use the forest to walk their dogs, take their children to play on a rope swing and to generally enjoy a stroll through what is a historical and a culturally important site to local iwi.
"It's extremely important Māori land, which has several wāhi tapu sites that date back to battles on the beach."
She said it wasn't up to her to assess the fire risk, "except I'm not stupid. I'm concerned that nothing has actually happened to mitigate the risk."