Five people have been trespassed from a Hawke's Bay Department of Conservation campsite after starting a fire during a total fire ban so they could have a "Kiwi camping experience".

DOC Ranger and Compliance Officer Rod Hansen said there was currently a total fire ban at all DOC managed land in Hawke's Bay, including all DOC campsites.

"The holiday period is a great time to get into the outdoors, but it's also the driest time of the year and the risk of a small fire getting out of control is very real – as we've seen with the recent Tangoio forest fire," he said.

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That fire at Tangoio, north of Napier, spread over 350ha, with dozens of fire fighters spending days to get the blaze under control even though response to the start of the fire was in a matter of minutes.

Despite the fire ban, DOC rangers are noticing some campers and visitors ignoring fire bans at campsites such as Kuripapango and Glenfalls.

A group of five people has already been trespassed from Kuripapango campsite for lighting a fire and leaving rubbish, Hansen said.

"A few people are ignoring signposted fire ban warnings in these areas and feel they are within their rights to light a campfire, even if it is 'just a small one' for toasting a few marshmallows or sausages.

"Somehow these people think that putting others at risk for the sake of a 'Kiwi camping experience' justifies breaking the law. It's incredibly irresponsible and disappointing.

"The recent Hawke's Bay fires and ongoing Australian bush fires illustrate the very real risks of fires quickly getting out of control and threatening people, property and our environment."

The impacts of fire can be very destructive and take years to repair, he said.

People causing fires may be held legally responsible for the cost of putting them out, which in some cases may amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Hansen said DOC was taking a "no excuses" response to people found flouting fire rules at its campsites and was also asking people to be on the lookout for anyone illegally lighting a fire and reporting this immediately to emergency services by dialling 111.