CROPS AND STOCK SUFFER
MANY GRASS FIRES REPORTED.
There are many to-day in entire sympathy with the head gardener, -who, with the temperature at 90 degrees, told his assistant, to go and mow the lawn while he worked at the fountain. New Zealand is still experiencing a heat wave almost unprecedented in the history of the Dominion, and although the heat in Wellington is not as severe as that recorded in other parts it is sufficient to make conditions very unpleasant; Loc*lly the highest temperature recorded yesterday was 80.8 degrees, and this morning at 9 o clock the instrument showed 72 degrees, five degrees'- lower than at the same tame yesterday. Probably the brief shower of rain at an early' hour this morning had some effect on the heat, but the overcast conditions that followed have tended to make the weather more oppressive. At 9 o'clock Akaroa registered 88 degrees, and Napier and Chnstchurch, each with 86 degrees, were next Bush and grass fires have been reported from various parts and in some places extensive damage has been the result. The hills around Wellington dur■tng the past few days have not been without scattered outbreaks of fire '■ Almost nightly Wellington residents can see fires burning on the Wainui-o-mata hills or the ranges adjacent to them, while the city area itself has not been free, and a fair amount of burning has been done in small areas. A few acres on the city side of Mount Victoria has been cleared oft Nothing serious has yet been reported, and the more local fires have been v watched from their commencement, and have been under control throughout. The fires on the ranges have been small, though they have, been burning continuously, and are confined, so far as can be ascertained this morning, to gorse and scrub. The forest and bush areas have not been seriously touched by the fires, although Gollan's Valley has had a large fire. ' | ''
A' fire broke out on the roadside at Ngaio yesterday, near the catchment area, and some steel pipes were slightly damaged.
The report from the Forestry Department this morning was to the effect that nothing attracting special attention had been reported.
The Wairarapa has suffered as much fls anywhere, and there was a serious grass fife on the Taratahi plains in the middle of the week. The outbreak was attributed to sparks from a passing engine. About" 20 acres .of grass was burnt This, fire nearly resulted in a residence being destroyed, the fire reaching to within 10 yards of the house before a large number of fighters arrested its progress. Gprse fires have also been causing anxiety in the Wairarapa district.
Abont the_ middle of the week a bush fire was also observed near the Manawatu Gorge. .In was not thought that the fire was near the reserve, but offi* cers ( of the Forestry Department left by car to investigate, and nothing further has been heard of it.
Reports from the South Island indicate that the heat wave has had serious results in some quarters, and it is stated that there are many farms around Christchurch on which not a blade of anything is left. In addition, there have been serious outbreaks of fire in plantations in yarious places. The Mariborough "Express" reports fires at Awatere, where hundreds of acres ' of feed were swept off; at Richmond Brook, where 100 men had to turn out to fight the flames; and at Tua Marina. Crops and stocks generally are suffering from the lack of rain.
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