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DAY OF ALARM

BIG BUSH FIRE

SETTLERS TO RESCUE

THOUSAND ACRES DESTROYED

(By Telegraph—Press Association.)

HASTINGS, This Day. Fanned by a high wind an extensive bush fire swept down on the Wakarara district, Central Hawke's Bay, today, endangering about 40 people, including women and children, and threatening to engulf a sawmill, schoolhouse, and dwellings.

The fire started late last night, and secured a firm hold over hundreds of acres, completely destroying some 20 years cut of bush. The telephone lines in the district were down, due either to fire or wind, and only meagre information concerning the plight of the settlement was available. The mail truck usually travelling to Onga Onga from' Wakarara was detained at the mill, apparently in case hurried evacuation was necessary.

Residents from nearby districts went to render what assistance they could in hopes of saving the mill and dwellings. The fire could be seen from. a considerable distance, and presented an awe-inspiring sight. The flames apparently extended for miles, and the smoke and haze were clearly seen as far north as Napier and Hastings.

Reports indicated that unless the wind dropped or changed there was little hope that the mill of Messrs. Gardner and Yeoman. Limited, and the settlement would be saved, and there was a possibility that McCulloch's mill, a few miles further on in the path of the blaze, would be endangered. At a late hour tonight, however, the fire had burned out short of the mill and settlement.. A tram line and logging equipment were damaged, and approximately 1000 acres of bush destroyed.

Rain falling tonight appears to have put an end to further fire danger. Settlers are relaxing precautions, as a further outbreak appears unlikely.

The fire is believed to have started from a logging camp.

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DAY OF ALARM Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 8, 11 January 1939

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