A very extensive fire occurred on Thursday en the stubble and tussock land extending from Dromore aorosa the Fairfield Estate to the Newlands road, an area of nearly four rquare mllea of country. The clouds of smoke whioh darkened the sky to the eastward of Ashburton. made it known m the- town that a fire of -some magnitude was raging m that direotlon, aud the aooounts whioh reaobed vi yeater* day deecribed tbe damage .at being, so serious that we despatched a reporter to the scene,
Among other rumours, It was stated] that Mr George Lamb, Newlnnds, had been burnt out. bat on arriving at hi* farm this was found to be, fortunately, untrue. He, however, had a narrow escape, tbe fire having been stopped on the opposite side of the road, at the bdundary of the Fairfield Estate. Following the trnok of the fire, It was not until close to Dromore that tbe point of its apparent origin was arrived at. This was m a paddock near Mr T. Langley's reddence, between it and ,the Railway Station. Here the fire had apparently spread from an old straw stack to a high gorce fence, whioh was destroyed for a length of a mile 01 more. Thence the fhmes traversed some stubble land, afta* which they ae'zsd upon the Fairfield tussocks, which blesad like gunpowder, and It was nop until the southera boundary of this estate was reached that the fire oonld be oheoked. The outbreak waft observed by Mr Langley and others, wholived or were employed m the neighborhood, before it had travelled many chains, but the prolonged drought had rendered everything so extremely (Dflammable that the fhmes fbw across the paddjok with almost lightning speed, and it was at once seen that it was useless to attempt to check them at their aouros. Mr Langley grasped at onoe the situation, and putting a strong team to a double-furrow plough proceeded at a^allcp to a point where some of his wheat stacks were threatened. By the time a few. furrows had been, ploughed here, Mr Stevens and Mr Houston had also arrived with ploughs, and after some futile attempts to atop the fire at tbe side road, the force* joined at the Fairfield lower boundary, and by ploughing a series of furrowa at tbe utmost speed the course of the flee was so retarded tbat it was found possible to preterit tta further progress, At the oross road before-mentioned the fire extended from some ten ohalns below the railway line to within a similar distance from the road connecting the Newlanda and Dromore roads. The Aahbucrorx Village Settlement. had a narrow eaeape. Atter passing over Mc Langlej'i honso block, the blocks held by Mr Madden and Mr Smith were swept, aud from thence the fire was confined within the Fairfield boundaries. One young gorse fence escaped, the fire having apparently leaped over It, from a high fence to the tussock beyond. With this exception, all fenoe*. were destroyed, and the chief loss Is in* this respect, though the destruction of the graas on Fairfield is also a serious matter.' Fortunately no Btacka nor dwellings were m the line of the fire. A large mob of sheep on Fairfield had a narrow escape, being only saved by the promptitude with which the corner of a paddock waa.oot oft' from the fire and the cheep rounded Into It. The money amount of the damage is not yet estimated, the owners of the properties not having yet bad time to gOi over tbem. More than one cause haer been assigned for the outbreak, but tbat which appears the most probable la tbat the ashes of tbe Btraw stack .near Mr Langloy's, which bad been burned od Wednesday night, when the weather wa» damp and heavy rain appeared Imminent/ were fanned into afl»me by the northerly . wind of the following day, and communicating to the surrounding grass, spread . and caused the oenfia&ratlOn. Everybody* near the fire turned out to assist la. extinguishing U, upwards of one hundred .' men doing their best at various points. ' ' The spa&d with whioh the fire travelled may be imagined from the fact that ode fc of those endeavoring to atop Jts progress hung his coat on a fenoe, and m a few seoonds It was engulphed m flames. Another tied his horae to a fence, and was caught unawares, aad the hair of the. animal's legs singed before It could be removed. Mr Smith, the settler already mentioned, was surrounded by fire and ' smoke, and was teaoued In a semi* conscious state. It is: fortunate that the ' wind was not a nor- wester such as that of yesterday, or the fire could not have been ■topped as it was, and the consequences must have been disastrous ! ' 'I ..„
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FIRES, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2095, 23 March 1889
FIRES Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2095, 23 March 1889
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