Coromandel bushfire reportedly caused by drunk fireworks escapade

One New Year's celebration has gone terribly astray after an alleged drunk camper sparked a five-hectare vegetation fire in the Coromandel.

Campers at Fletcher's Bay were gearing up to welcome 2018, with many lighting fireworks at midnight.

Thomas Strawbridge, one of the 50 campers celebrating that night, said things were all well and good until one drunk camper took things too far. 

"A guy in a red four-wheel-drive boosted through the soft sand. He stopped, and then sparked fireworks and shot it straight up," he told Stuff.

"A second shot from the fireworks sat in the grass for 15 seconds before it went ablaze."

The fire damaged five hectares of vegetation including pohutukawa trees.
The fire damaged five hectares of vegetation including pohutukawa trees. Photo credit: Newshub.
Fire and Emergency northern communications shift manager Paul Radden confirmed the bushfire was caused by fireworks in the early hours of Monday morning.

"The fire is now mostly contained and crews are just working on dampening down hot spots."

Mr Radden added that there was no indication the fire had affected any houses. 

Dozens of firefighters and choppers equipped with monsoon buckets have managed to contain the quickly spreading blaze.

Coromandel's mayor Sandra Goudie is furious people have ignored the district's fire bans.

"Look, we really don't want to have our forests and people's lives put at risk through fire. We don't want that. Not in our district."

Ms Goudie told Newshub that fireworks are "an absolute no-no", with conditions being bone-dry across the region.

"The fire conditions are very high," she said. "Even small fires... you've got to keep a real eye on those."

While the suspected drunk camper has left the area, his four-wheel-drive remains at the beach.