THE RECENT BUSH FIRE.
The fire started on the 22nd instant on Reid's line by some roadmen at work has been followed by most disastrous results. The continued dry weather which liad prevailed for several weeks before, had so parched and dried the forest and undergrowth, that, highly imflammable as it is on ordinary occasions, it was rendered doubly so by the intense heat of the sun. The flames, which gathered strength as they proceeded, soon had hundreds of acres of magnificently timbered land at their mercy, and they spared not. When the certainty of considerable loss from the burning of valuable trees became beyond doubt, all hands from the mills at I'aonui were turned out, and set to wort to attempt to stay the progress of the destructive element. Their efforts were entirely unavailing, und they had to give way before the inlense heat of the flames. It was difficult at times for the men at work to escape from the fire. It dashed along the ground igniting the dry leaves, then creeping serpent-like up the trunk of some tall totara or rata, wrapped it in its deadly folds. Meanwhile, the tongues of flame crept along the branches, consuming the parisitical growths that hung from them in graceful festoons of moss, or the sturdy bunches of kei kei that adorned them. A few minutes of furious crackling, and the roaring sound made by the fire, and then a crash and a shower of sparks proclaimed the fall of some monarch of the forest. It was now evident that the wooden tramways would certainly be destroyed, so the attention of the men was entirely devoted to the object of saving as much as possible of the tramway line. Here again labor was useless and the fire found in the saw-dust used for ballast, and in the rails and sleepers which were dry as chips, a ready prey. We believe that about three miles of the tram have been rendered useless. The amount of damage done to the bush has not yet been estimated, and it is not likely that any owner of the bush destroyed will be able to estimate hi» real loss, as the fire has completely swept away all evidence of the size of the timber-yielding trees. Messrs Bailey, Bros., of Taonui, and Mr Adsett, of the Totara Keserve, are the heaviest losers, not only in forest and plant, but in loss of time, as the best working part of the coming six months will be entirely occupied in relaying the tramways and repairing damages to fences, <fee. At one time it was feared that Mr Adsett would lose not only his bush but his sawmill and private dwelling house. As the latter is -just out of the builder's hands its loss would have been severely felt. Mr Adsett was fortunate enough to see the fire take another direction, in which it was assisted by the mill hands. Mr Adsett has lost a considerable quantity of split posts and rails which were ready to be forwarded by rail. Other persons, whose names we have been unable to ascertain, are losers by this unfortunate calamity.
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