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FIRE AT KHANDALLAH. AN ANXIOUS TIME., Evening Post, Volume LXXV, Issue 40, 17 February 1908
FIRE AT KHANDALLAH. AN ANXIOUS TIME.
r SAVED BY THE SOUTHERLY. ' There was much excitement at Kliandallah yesterday. The bush fires' whkli had occurred in the vicinity during the- previous two days were 'noY -fraught with much dwiger ivhils t&e ' \v«asher remained calm, but •on • Sunday "maining the nor-westerly wind came up, and trouble resulted- Practically ' all the "back" of Khandallah is bush, a^d" the area which the Onslow Borough Council proposes to reserve, as a catchment area vfor its future water supply -adjoins the' beautiful domain which ib 1 ths prido of those who hayo-takan top their quarters- in that suburb. „ With., sii 'rising of the wind from tiie north it was evident that the ridge overlooking the suburb would be epeedjiy' in -danger and many went out to 100k 1 for tijo result.. In several places the fire worked its way through the ' scrub, . feeding on tho roots and leaves, all dry as tinder, but as the breeze freshened < sparks and flaring lumps were" carried oh high, fired the dwd 1 trees which' liberty besprinkled the bush, cauglit tho flaring masses, and carried them in many cases hundreds of ya-rds to ,osHetf '/tinfle-ry stumps and logs and • dead fcrefts.- As the fire spread, those who had built on the very edge of thp bush;, hflid there" are many picturesquely situated residences about there, saw that their homes were in jeopardy. ' '/__ A DANGEROUS POSITION.-. Khandallah was soon on the alert* -^The • residence pf Mr. J. Alexander ' was in
the most dangerous position. It is situated at the top of Clarke-street, and right in the bush, and near tho junction of the catchment area and tho boundary of the domain, and as the burning masses were swept along by the breeze, dead trees and undergrowth caught fire in close . proximity to his house. Tho residents of the locality at once musterered in force, and as the wind increased in force and the flying masses flew further and further, and the danger of the domain catching fire increased, an appeal was 'lnado to the ' Minister for Defence (Hon. R. McNab), who was asked if he would allow' a detachment of- Permanent Artillery to go ■out to help in the- fight. Readily the permission, ,was, given, and in a very little while fifteen members of tlip force, under Bombardier ' Page, were on their way to the scene of operations, while a large contingent of navals and men of No. 3 Company (formerly submarine nuner.&) started onfc for the same place with the same benevolent intentions.' They did good work, and hard, work, but all the time it-^eemed that their.besfc >' endeavours would be useless unless the wind changed. However, they did tiheir best, fighting back the flames, which spread throughout the dry scrub and dead, vimber -with remarkable speed, ■ and when evening came ,the , ysCp WIND CHANGES, ' Then came the change-, Mr. E^ av V; ■who had, been most energetic "in his - efforts to relieve the situation, was up long before daylight and taking stock of the position.- Just at 3.30 a.ni/, two of..tltt*eerterr,iuc"gus,ts of wind blew down the gully, and the flames roared mertily. -Then came a dead calnvfollow-ed by a southerly. That meant salvation for Alexander's house, for the fire was within . fifty . yards ,of it,, .and it also meant salvation for , the Domain, for, had tho wind blown much longer from the. north, nothing could have saved that • beautiful piece of bush. Quickly he conveyed Hhe good tidings to tho neigh" bours, arid from then- on a band of willing workers, splendidly assisted by the permanent contingent, 'were busily engaged in covering up the sipouldering emfeers^ "beating" out "the worst 1 of tho ionics* and generally taking advantage of tho opportunity which tW change of wind., had provided.,, To-day, tiie .situation is unchanged. So long Las the southerly lasts jthere'is no danger to be feared. But the fire is still smouldering amdng, dead trees, and logs, and a change of wino. might easily lesult in a recrudescence of the" danger of Sunday night. ' Apart from- the danger to private property, the present position. has served to bring home to the residents of Khan- > dallah the danger to the Domain. It is one of the prettiest pieces of bush still extant in the vicinity of Wellington, and its destruction would be a matter for deep regret,' even if it could be effected without endangering the houses of residents. And. the chief source of danger is in- tho dead timber. With a high wind' blowing, flaming liunps were carl ied J seve'ral"hurtdreds of yards during the fire^of yesterday, and no one coidd tell where they would settle. For the r future, it 'is., urged, the policy of the D6main Board must be centred in the removal of this dead timber, which is such a f eal menace to the safety of the suburb and the Domain itself. It is understood that the Government was going \ to provide a subsidy of £200 for the pur- ' pose of clearing out the dead timber, • but that the arrangement has not been carried, out. On the other hand, it is urged that there are several residents of the locality public-spirited enough to assist in the "work by contributions of either money or labour, and that it is not, too much to suggest that some people might be found who would be glad to remove some of tho biggest trees for the marketable timber they contain. It is, at any rate, pretty certain that when the present danger is past, the Domain B6ard will be faced with the ' necessity of- doing something quickly. Dry weather may come any summer, ana bush fires are the natural corollary. When residences are erected close to the edge of the bush, as in this case, the corollary is not to be contemplated with v equanimity. NARROW ESCAPE OF WILTON'S BUSH. Tho Under-Secretary for Lands (Mr. W C. Kensington) received a report' this nfteiijoon from the Commissioner of Crown Lands (Mr. J. Strauchon) with reference to the naiTow escape of the beautiful scenic reserve known as Wilton's Bush, near Wadestown. On Saturday the Under-Secrctary instructed the "commissioner to employ as many men as ha-Ytiought fit to suppress a file which didd started at the odgo of ths buish. Mr. iStrauchon reports that the men he en.gaged worked energetically beating out ■ >the" flames among the fallen timber, and ' &• larger number could not have done betiter. The dead leaves and grass about .the- burning logs have now been eaian nip by the flames, and Mr. Sfxauchon does not think that the fir© will spiead. He has, "however, directed the caretaker t6"keep ar sharp look-out, and imm.'diately report to 'him if the danger becomes more apparent. Another instance where culpable carelessness might have resulted seriously occurred yesterday. A party of young people from' town picnicked at Paekakariki; they lit their fire about lour feet from a clump of toi and rushes, and % after lunch they went off for a bathe. The ( fire spread to the toi and rushes, and' thence to a patch of scrub. Fortunately another party 'noticed tho fact, and hiul a busy time, even " with the assistance of a dozen local volunteers, in sa,ving two settlers' houtes Their only plan was to divert (not to quench) the flames, a task rather difficult, but eventually successful The two houses now stand in the centre of a largo burnt-out area. A Press Association telegram from Auckland re'Ceive^d, yesterday stated that the totara bush at Mokai was in danger of -being swept away. To-day Mr. Dalziell, chairman of the Taupo Timber Cimpany, telegraphed for particulars, and was informed that tho report was incorrect ; and that ' there was no fire in the bush or near the Mokai mill. „ GUM-SWAMP RUINED. A thousand-acre gum swamp, well drained' and dry, ■ near Mangawhare, has^ been on fire for weeks (says a late Auckland paper). The property belongs to Messrs. Williams and Marnner, and tc-c-ntly they were offered £7 an acre for it. The fiie. hds practically destroyed it, burning- (through from sft to 10ft of peaty soil right to the, clay. THOUSANDS OF ACRES SWEPT. [BY TELEGRAPH — PRESS ASSOCIATION.] PALMERSTON NORTH, This Day. Grass fires in the Pohangma Valley broke out with* renewed energy on Friday and Saturday on Delamere Flat and Upper Pohangina. Flames swept through tho greater portion of the large Government reserve, doing great damage. At Awahou South thousands of ac;*e& have been burnt together with miles of fencing. So far the loss of stock has not been great, , but thi position is serious "beyond doubt. Settlers consider that should a strong northerly blow tho fire would sweep the whole country. Fires in the Manawatu Gorge are still burning on both sides, but no serious damage has been done.
•ptm^er* are invited by advurtis>emo».t in this issue for the purchase of debentures in the estate of the late Mr. M'Uw Iffo.
FIRE AT KHANDALLAH. AN ANXIOUS TIME., Evening Post, Volume LXXV, Issue 40, 17 February 1908
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