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BUSH AND GRASS FIRES, Otago Witness, Issue 2810, 22 January 1908
BUSH AND GRASS FIRES
m A PARTY SURROUNDED BY FLAMES. GREAT DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY. GISBORNE, January 15. Bush fires have" been causing much '■, anxiety in the Amotu district. The house ! occupied by Mr W. B. Orr was burned down and everything lost, and at other 'places eettlere were working together to save property. As far as is known, only the one house is destroyed. It was insured for £50, but the loss considerably exceeds that. DANNEVIRKE, January 15. The bush fires have abated somewhat, thouffh iV >p atmosphere is still very heavy with smoke. •< ,a Januar= 16. Gamman's Rakaiafca No. 2 sawmill, near Makotuiku, together with whares, stables, ,&pd cookhouse, was completely razed to the ground this afternoon." Two men got ! through the fixe, and report that three women, three children, and 30 men are encompassed by fire, and have no food nor water. January 17. The damage by the destruction of Gamman's mill must be close on £4000. j Some £2000 worth of timber was destroyed. A slight shower fell last niffht, but not enough to stay the fires. There is, however, a prospect of more rain. The statement that some people had been cut off by a bush fire is incorrect. "Everyone got away without the slightest difficulty after burying their furniture in a trench. It is reported that the saws and belts at the mill were saved, but Gamman Bros, lost 60,000 ft of sawn timber, the mill, , machinery, and buildings. NEW PLYMOUTH, January 20. ' During the past three days high winds have carried fires through this district, and 1 big losses of fencing and grass and bush are reported. The settlers have in a state of jrreat anxiety owing to the rapid spread of the 'fire. Word was -received ' to-day from Rohotu that «• six-roomed house belonging to Mr R. J. Smith, of Rohotu, and occupied by Mr George Earl, had been destroyed. ~ .The Opunake Sawmill Company 1 had 20 chains of tramway destroyed, but the mill escaped, though it was completely Bur1 rounded "by fire. 1 A big -shed on a farm owned by Mr R. Morrow was -destroyed, but though the house caught twice, it "was saved by strenuous exertions. ' - A- -message from Uruti states that Mr , Musker's residence, with all its contents, ! was totally -destroyed by the bush fires on Sunday night. EKETAHUNA, January 16. The bush fires have not spread, the last two days being -calm, but if the wind comes before rain the position will probably be ' serious. The creeks are drvinsr up, and water in town is short. January 17. The wind last night caused the fires to freshen in the district. Thes- were most
j severe at Hukanui, where houses ownec 1 "by J. Bond and J. Turner, settlers, wer« completely destroyed. The settlers wen fighting the flames all the night. Several families have moved out of the fire zone and left their houses to take their chance I Popplewell's timber mill was only saved b-\ I the unremitting efforts of a large band o. ; workmen. Hundreds of acres of grass anc ' fencing have been destroyed. In othe^ I parts of the district the settlers were com J pelled to work all night protecting then homes. There waa a slight fall of rain aftei midnight, and the wind changing relievec the situation, though the fires are still , burning. I MASTERTON, January 17. I Rain set in at an early hour this morning, 30 points bein(j registered up to £ o'clock. The visitation has proved thf salvation of the district, as the breeze which sprang up at eunset, increasing almost tc I a gale at times, fanned the burning logs i and spread the fires rapidly, sending ur. | heavy columns of smoke, almost obscuring i the .scene, and completely enveloping the town. The rain relieved anxiety throughI out file district lest widespread devastation j should result. The oldest residents do no! ; recollect such a prolonged period of droug-hi 1 and intense heat. The temperature has fallen several degrees since y J ~-r*av. January 18. The torest fires did not aaui~i.|2ft eithei 1 the Masterton Mountain House or the "tracl. lon Mount Holdsworth. . .On the 18th there wae a. 'phenomenal- fall in the temperature, The heat had been intense, but on the 17tl the thermometer showed Ideg. below freez ing point. The weather to-day is fine anc cool. The danger from the bush fires wm 1 averted by the rain on Thursday night. January 20. A mother -with s/x. small children wearily made her way 'through the bus! j to the nearest shelter, three miles distant, and her husband stayed to fight the flames, which a few lours later consumed theii home. Another woman 'became unconscious frorr suffocation by smoke, and had to be carried to a place of safety. The fires have proved the ruin, or the partial ruin of a number of struggling settlers*, while all who took part in sub duing the .flames or preventing their spread have .Had to undergo much physical strait and mental anxiety. Yesterday the weather was again verj hot, and much smoke is about,' indicating Haat the iires are not yet wholly extin guished. ■Some .streams and creeks are dry thai ,have never been known to be so before. Th Ruamahoaiga and Waipona- Riven ape phenomenally low, with slimy watei and stagnant pools. There are many* dead eels in the Ruamahanga. CARTERTON, January 17. "Welcome Tain fell here last night foi several hours, and consequently the bugb fires iwere greatly checked, though not extinguished. 32* fly -yesterday afternoon a strong wind fanned the subsiding fires into vigorous life, and at nig;ht-f all_ the- hillsides were in blaae.- Many anxious farmers watched the ,progress-of "the flames, and the outlook -was becoming- serious -when iflhe first ' shower of rain fell. La-tar on xaia fell -very | heavily, and now only the densely-timbered portion of the hills -are burning. This is not 'considered »ei>iauß.' The tempersatur* has fallen to .58deg. All the dairy and cheese factories in the district have suffered through ~&e 'prolonged drought, causing the milk '.supply to faU. off, wome of the factories 'being sGogal behind the supply as oompaTed with the same time last year. ""> " T.-VTERSTON N-. Tamrary 14The Pohangina. Valley is ablaze, and the restaents ara aavmg an anxious tune. The stump fires spread over the country between Awahou South -to beyond Komaka. A large number of settlers have had to fight the flames to save buildings and fences. Others have been up all night mustering sheep to *aye them from being burnt. This is the most destructive fire for eight years. The danger is not yet passed, and rain is anxiously awaited by the settlers. January 16. Reports from Pohangina to-day indicate that the danger of the bush fires is increasing. At present no homesteads have been burnt, but several are in danger. Miles of fencing- and several sheds and numbers of .sheep have been burnt. The valley is enveloped in a heavy cloud of smoke, and it is impossible to form any definite idea as xo what loss has been sustained until rain comes and the country clears. A noticeable effeot is that feed for miles away from the fires has been burnt up by the combined heat, sun, and smoke. At present there are no indications of rain, which is urgently needed everywhere. At Komako,. at the haad of Pohangina "Valley, the settlers are prepared to forsake their dwellings. The fire is reported to be raging through the forest reserve, a big stretch of bush. January 17. Reports from Pohangina to-day show that the absence of -wind yesterday and the light showers that fell during the night greatly assisted to quell the fires in the valley. and the settlers have been lessening the danger by removing grass and logs from the vicinity of the houses and buildings. WELLINGTON, January 20. The Taihape bush fires, which have been raging in this district for some time past r assumed serious proportions yesterday, when sparks set fire to tho bush in -the vicinity of the saw mills. The Manawatu Timber Company's mill, near Taihape, wag in grave danger last flight, its destruction seeming unavoidable. The fire is raging all round other mills similarly placed. The Pubar.aua Company's mill on the Mataroa line was in danger, but the wind is now keeping down. So faT no plants have been destroyed. This morning's reports state that no damage has been done to the plants or buildings of any mill, but the situation is «till extremely critical. Fires have been raging at Ohakune, threatening the mills and other buildings, but no loss is yet reported. The mills at Winiata and Utiku are closely pressed by the conflagration, but so far have escaped. The country is extremely dry. Wat©her 3 were kept up at all the mills last "night. NELSON, January 16. Bush fires continue in various parts of the district, and much damage to crops and fences is reported. The Waiiti correspondent of the Colonist states that the range of hills between that place and Bel-' 1 #rove is now a blackened mass. Another fire has started in a Government reserve of 5000 acres at the head of Trass Valley, near Waiiti. At Stanleybrook Mr Wilkinson's property waa swept by fixe on Wednesday. The oat crops and homestead were saved with, difficulty, but two bushmen's camps, with their contents, were destroyed. January 17. Dry weather and fires oontinua, though
d the weather is now cooler and inclined to c be cloudy. c - Fires have traversed Belgrove, Wai-iti, ;1 Stanleybrook, Wangapeka, and Baton disf, tricts, and it is feared that Mr Bromell's !. house -at the Baton is burnt down, though v it is impossible to get details. if A fire is raging in the Government reel serve of 5000 acres at Trask "Vailey, near r Wai4ti. i- There is much shortage of water in varir ous places, carting having to be done, and r a considerable falling off in the milk 1 supply is reported, owing to the dryness of 1 the pastures. Hops are suffering from the drought, and the yield will be light, as the vines i- are very stunted. 9 Bush -fires raged fiercely at Sianleybrook c on Wednesday. One traversed Mr Wilkin[i son's property on the right-hand branch 0 of the river, and swept through half a s mile of green fallen timber against the p wind. Two. camps, with their -contents, ? were totally destroyed. The fire travelled b through Mr Wilkinson's old clearing, and - reached within a quarter of a mile of the 1 house. Several times during the day the t oat crops caught, and it was only by the t strenuous efforts of the settlers that tho s crops were saved from destruction. The extent of the damage is not jet ascertainable. r it has been ascertained that Bromell's lc house is intact. c The fires have been the -worst known in s. the Wangapeka and Sherry districts. . h CHRISTCHURCH, January 15. :- A grass fire broke out on the Cashmere i Hills xhis afternoon, and spread for a con6 siderable distance over the Cashmere Estate before it -was subdued. Reports are to hand of big grass fires at i Hororata, covering something under 20,000 li acres, including much fencing and some ;, stock. f, January 16. r The grass fire on the Hororata Estate (formerly Sir John Hall's) was most disasa trous. The estate was divided last March, - and the selectors entered into possession in August. Fortunately as yet no buildiners 8 have been erected, and the damage there- £ fore is confined to grass, fencing, and £ stock. 3 The fire began on Miss Cordy's proa -perty. five miles from Hororata, at 11 a.m. yesterday, but 1000 fiheep were saved tnere. y The flames swept before €he south-east = breeze very rapidly, and «oon, despite the l " efforts of many men with sacks to prevent its progress, many thousands of acres were * a black waste. One selector lost 700 sheep and three horses. s It is -estimated that the fire destroyed r 30,000 or 40,000 acres of grass, and many * new settlers will be ruined. One owner ■ was reaping, when the fixe came aiid ' destroyed 1000 acres of Brass. r The lire is -supposed to have originated 1 in some phosphorus used to destroy * Tabbits. > (Pboic Otm Oww Correspondent.) 3 ! GREYMOUTH, January 15. 3 ' Bush fires are raging in the Grey- Valley, * and doing a great deal of damage. & i : I THE TOWN BELT. A formidable fire Tiroke out at 8.30 on B the 20th. on the Town Belt, near the main j road to Roalyn and a little below the old I Robin Hood quarries. Aided by a rising wind shrubs and .grass dry as tinder blazed "furiously, and after spreading rapidly threatened the wooden building at the back of the Boys' High School. The Fire Brigade, commanded by Captain Mitohell, was , quickly in attendance, and with the assistance of civilians began beating the fire out. Water was also brought into play, and' 700 ft of hose were in use. After an hour's fire ' fighting the flames were subdued, but not until they had approached within. five feet ' r of the wooden structure already mentioned, ' wliioh the brigade saved by what seemed to be a miracle. The alarm was given at the * Artnur street box. A quantity of bush is destroyed in patches, and the outbreak is attributed to boys, wax matches, or care-1-essness.
BUSH AND GRASS FIRES, Otago Witness, Issue 2810, 22 January 1908
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