UNDER CONTROL IN SOUTHLAND. (From Our Own Correspondent.) INVERCARGILL, January 22.
The fire in Seaward Bush continued blazing furiously till early this morning, when radn began to fall. The rain continued till mid-day, and has again brought the fire under control. On inquiry to-day T find that Messrs. Broad. Small, and Co. lost at Tilbury, in addition to the mill and mo«t of the plant, about 70,000 ft of timber, with stables, waggons, trollies, and a. great deal of tramway. At their Long. Bush mill much of the tramway has aleo "been destroyed, but the mill, fortunately, was saved. How far their milling timber has- been affected at Long Buah is not yet known, but the Tisbury Bush has been so damaged that it is unlikely that another mill will be erected. This firm'-s loss at the Tisbury mill- i«-estimated at about JBIOOO. Messrs Timpany> Bros', sawmill, which was destroyed, was insured for £800, but the firm will lose heavily, as a great deal of their tramway and- their bridges have been burned. M?Callum'« mill, at little way back from the bush siding, waav- saved, but the oldmill building and the outbuildings on the railway line were destroyed, and the- timber yard was only saved by the staff working . all nifjht. The ftre at Mabel Bush destroyed about 1 half a mile of the New Zealand Bine Company's tramway, but the mill escaped. A good deal of tramway Line belonging to the New Zealand Pine Oompamy-'s Woodend null has. been destroyed, but the mill itself ha» survived. Mr A. R. Walliss mill at Hedgehope-. ' which was destroyed, was not insured, and j Mr Walhs- will' be a heavy loser. ' The Southland Sawmill Company'sKapiika raiFl was reached by. the flames- at about 11 o'clock, la&t mighl, and although the whole staff workod desperately- to save it, it was destroyed, with a considerable amount of tramway and the men's hutK This- mill wa«* only re-erocte<i in February lastt having- a= little* time before beon burnt down. The-Tails on the Seaward Ru»li line hax-o buckled somewhat through the heat, but &■ gang, of men was at work all night effecting- repairs, awd the train was able to get through this morning. Tliis is the worst disaster from bush fires that ha* yet overtaken Southland. It will throw at least 100 men out of work, for eoroe tune, and as- under the altered circumstances it will not bo worth while to rebuild the- mills, many- of the* men will have to seek employment elsewhere. The loss in mill buildings and plants, stocks of timber, tramirave; and standing lumber, rune* mill imm thousands oi: rxmndfc Many
settlers' houses have also been destroyed, but it is impossible at thi& time- to give definite information about them, or to make any estimate of the aggregate loss. January 23. The bush fires were quiescent to-day, but the rising wind restarted them to-night in two distinct places —one in the direction of Motu Rimu, and the other towards Waimatua. No details are available. Heavy rain at Orepuki last night quenched the fires there. January 24. 1 The bush fire* arc now under control. ! heavy rain having stayed their progress, but, owing to the dry, peaty nature of the soil, a week's downpour will be reI quired to extinguish them. The Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands (Mr Hay), the road engineer (Mr Treseder), and Mr Hanan, M.H.R., are now on a visit of inspection. Many of the sufferers are struggling settlers, who probably require Government assistance in the way of grass seed, etc. The bulk of the bush destroyed is practically worked out. The damage to the sawmills amounts to £4000, and about the same amount of destruction has been done to the bush. In all, 44,000 acres are affected. January 25* The scene of the bush fires wae inspected to^ay by Mr Hanan, M.H.R., Mr Hay (Commissioner of Crown Lands), and Mr , Kinross (a member of the Southland Land Board) with a view of ascertaining what oauld be done in the way of sowing dawn the burnt areas- in grass. A report will be ecnt tt> the Government. A considerable amount of the affected area is freehold land, and the settlers are already preparing to sow. A number of the Government settlers, having earned their living by working at the sawmills, will probably be obliged to surrender, their holdings unless the miils resume working, which is problematical at prcecnt. Some holdings are benefited by the fires, as clearing has been done which would have takon months of labour. . I
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