BIG BUSH FIRE
LONG FIGHT WITH FLAMES
(By Telegraph—Press Association.)
ROTORUA, December 2,
After an all-night battle against what appeared at times to be impossible odds, a large gang of men engaged in fighting a forestry fire, which broke out in the plantations of New j Zealand Perpetual Forests', Ltd., near j Upper Atiamuri, succeeded about daybreak this morning in isolating the outbreak, and y by 11 o'clock the last of the flames'had been extinguished. The greater part of the block of 640 acres in which the outbreak occurred was destroyed. Firefighters succeeded in restricting the damage to this one block, although in one or two places sparks were blown across fire breaks and caused small outbreaks in the adjoining timber. .These were promptly quelled, however, and when Mr. Owen Jones, chief forester of Perpetual Forests, Ltd., inspected the fire from the air shortly before 11 o'clock, he was able to report that no sign of fire remained. The quelling of the outbreak removed a serious threat to the whole of the great area of planted timber on the outskirts ,of which the fire occurred.
The plantation affected by the fire is about 640 acres in extent, approximately between ther 17 and 20-mile pegs on the Atiamuri Road. It is heavily planted with pinus insignis trees, which have reached an average height of about 50ft The flames were spreading last night with such rapidity that the workers appeared to be facing a hopeless task, and a change of wind seemed the . only factor that would ease the position. Strenuous : efforts were made to check the advance of the flames by burning back the bush from' the road and by establishing patrols, along the highway for about two miles. These efforts were rewarded with little success. Sparks were' carried across the road, and, before the men could be mobilised to cope with the position, the dry undergrowth was ablaze. Within a few minutes the timber was burning fiercely until the roar of the flames could be heard more than two miles away. , , ~ A call .for assistance to check the spread of the fire was speedily met and within an incredibly short space of time, more than 150 men, many sent from: Rotorua. . by.. ; the .State Forestry Department, had arrived on the scene. .However, the gusty conditions that prevailed made their task almost impossible. The gangs were constantly being reinforced up _to a late hour last night, but it was then considered that only a change of wind could prevent the fire from extending into adjoining sections of forest. However the strenuous efforts of the men were, finally crowned with success.
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