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BUSH AND GRASS FIRES.

SERIOUS DAMAGE IN NORTH

Besides 1

ISLAND. HOUSES AND BRIDGES BURNT. ... AUCKLAND, January 23. • ~ A 'fire 1 involving the Rangihau-KapowJ Blocks, on the Coromandel Peninsula, has 1 been raging for the past week. Besides 1 , standing timber, some thousands of logs were either damaged or destroyed, while the timber dams and the workmen's shanties were swept away. The fire, ' | which is the largest of the past 10 years,1 involves some square miles of practically ' uninhabited rough country. Unless rain falls the fire will devastate a further area of valuable timber reserves. January 24. Fires are evidently serious' in the ■ Gumtown district, on the Coromandel Penin-' suit. The manager of the Kapowai Gold^ Mining Company f reports to-day: — " The ■ fires have been bad during the week, and at ! times caused anxiety for the safety of the battery. Thare is still a considerable area on fire, but I think we^are safe." j . GISBORNE, January ' 24. ' Bush fires at Motu this week spread for. " miles across country. Mr H. Richmond's house waa destroyed. The Rakauroa settlers had to fight the flames for days and bury their clothing. . - -NAPIER, January 21. ! The -people of Napier had a somewhat^ unusual experience to-day. The town from, an early hour until about 11 a.m. being enveloped in smoke. So dense was ths, smoke that it had all the appearance, of avery thick fog, save that the atmosphere, was hot end oppressive. "The -smoke wasevidently coming from the bush and grasi, , fires, and judging by the immense quan« " „ tity of 6moke and the extreme heat, lh« fires were judged to be close at: ha*" 1 .- At first the public had nothing but wild rumours in place of information, but about? midday authentic news was received of bigj bush fires at Pohui and'Puketitiri,' at both , of which places there was for a time great danger of the sawmills and the workmen's^ homes 'being burnt. At both places, how-- ; ever, a change of wind about 1 p.m. altered j the" direction of the fire and relieved , ther j anxiety to some extent. A considerable quantity of valuable bush, however, has been burnt at each place. - ■ I At Norsewood the fire which has been burning freely for several days in the bueb,> iff the vicinity was' fa-nned by a strong" wind yesterday morning, and this came sweepings down the Ngamoko Valley, leaving desola-' tion in its track. Five farm houses,belonging to Messrs J. CHira, C. P. AnderI son, Alf. Olsen, J,. Veal, and P. M. Molir I were destroyed-, and' two bridges on tha Ngamoko-Norsewood main road were burnt. It is believed that the Neamoko creamery and P. M. Mohr's sawmill are certain to. go. At Makotuku, Gammon Bros.' No, 1 Rakaiatai sawmill is also considered to bo " very likely to go if the wind does nob change. - Grave fears are entertained foi? many other settlers' homes in this vicinity.* January 25. . News was received .in town this after* noon that the bush fires at Pohui had de* stroyed'-'the Fairburn Timber Company s» mill together with about £3000 worth o» stacked timber and three cottages occupied! , by Messrs Williams." Colvey, and SimonBen. The fire is still raping: The mill, timber,, and cottages wer,e insured in the Phoenix office for £3955, and the engine m i the United for £300. • " - HASTINGS. January 21. - The south-east wind at 10. a.m. veered t.o ■ a -boisterous "south-wester,' probfbly. saving' a large - portion .of the Northern ■Here- 1 taunga plains. Great anxiety, is felt at air - the homesteads. PALMERSTON N., January 2...- . 'Bush fires extend over" a mile . through the centre of the Manawatu Gorge, -and a , number of bridges have been burnt. Pa>merston ie enveloped in heavy smoke today, and the fires are approaching niucl* closer * EKETAHUNA, January 21. A heavy wind- last night asrain freshened the fires, and, spreading rapidly at Rongokako,- the school and the dairy factory were threatened. The position was especially serious at Mangamahoe, which was a mass of flames, and the church was in danger. At Nireaha the fire was within 20 yards ot . the store and post office. The smoke is so thick that the damage cannot -be ascertained. Hansen'e house was destroyed- , Bluitt's bouse at Hukanui was among those burned last week. At Nireaha terrible damage was done. The fire s"* - ept with such force that all effort* to check it were unavailing. The school and teacher's, residence, the house of the manager of the Nireaha Co-operative Cheese Co.. and the following settlers' houees were destroyed: Hansen, Alberthsen. Goodin. Saey. and Busst. A number of huts and outbuiWine* at Alberthsen's timber mill are believed to be destroyed. A young lad, named Waterens. the son of a settlor, is reported' to- be missing. It is impossible as vet to ascertain the full damage in that district.? The wind has changed slightly, and madrf the position a little less severe. A numbed of men are still watching. The Nireaha, co-operative cheese factory was unable ta take any milk this morning. In Eketahuna ■ Borough men were engaged in putting out incipient fires in open sections. At New man the fires appear to be spreading ove* a good few farms. EKETAHUNA, January 22. ! The fires are still threatening, under tHi pressure of the wind. The youth Water* cus has turned up safely. Rongokaka factory is" once more in danger. "The? - smoke is co thick that one cannot sea

half a chain. The large^volume of fire approaching: Eketahuna will be dangerous if the .wind alters more to the- west. Bridges are ""being watched, and extinguished ac they catch alight. JBurlmg lost 1000 acres of graes and a lot of sheep, and Mra Owen her woolshed and contents at Putaroa. -The settlers are -working hard to save property. Fires are still spreading throughout the district. This afternoon they worked up olose to PaTkvalie, .in the JSketahuna " Borough, and fears were entertained for the *afety of several- houses and the New Zealand Fanners' Dairy Union Butter Factory. A large body of workers «ucjpeeded in preventing the nearer approach, of the fire, and the surroundings of the factory have been carefully watched. . All to-night the .wind has been very tricky, whioh makes the work much harder. It is impossible to- say where the -fire -will stop if the present weather continues. OARTERTON, January 23. - TEe conflagration both on the hills "and plains yesterday assumed a menacing aspect. The smoke was very dense. At - night a volunteer force was -enlisted, .settlers combating the flames. They went out at 3 a.m. and saved Hookers- homestead. Several pheds were demolished, but no -great damage was done -beyond the loss of feed. Light rain is now filing, And, apparently " it- is heavy in the hills, as the fu?e "has gr ysu [jl^j^gyjgjgrj^ January ,23.The bush fires have now abated, but considerable. damage has been done. 'Light ri&i fell " to-day. ' ' • WELLINGTON January 22. -Mr Chew, manager of the, Nireaha pairy Jfoctory, lound himself -surrounded .by flames >and 'his escape cut off. He tried to take refuge in a water tank, but oould not empty it enough. -He soaked ht6 -clothes and broke open the schoolroom door with a spade. His own and -Jill the houses near were then in flames, .and the school followed. Mt Chew started digging a hole, but his . clothes got " dry, and he took them oft, fearing- , they would catch, but the sparks fell .on his skin, so he wrapped his coal; round him and huddled into a hole about 2Jft deep, and remained there till found by a rescue party. NELSON, January 22. Baigent's sawmill at Pigeon Valley, ■"■Wai-iti district, was burnt down by bu6h firee .yesterday. The fire will throw jnany out of employment. A sudden change of ■ ' -wind from south to north brought back the flames, which there was no resisting. Tuimicliffe's mill in Brandy Valley, Dovedale, parallel with Baigent's, and Price's mill, at Trass Valley, are also in peril, as the flames are sweeping thitherward, "but no- details are available. Amongst the sufferers in the "Waimea -, Plains are J."W. and James Eves, F. -Curxin, and ■T. Wadsworth. Owing to _ the. density .of 4he smoke and ,great "heat it is ' almost impossible, to muster stock, and. - hence a great lose is feared" if the fires 1 oontinue to spread and the rain keeps off. ' The farmers are very ..gloomy, and fear depression in the autumn and -winter^ • Yesterday was the worst day vet with. fires. .In- the Wangapeka and Motuelca "Valleys a strong, south-easterly, Tsreeze fanned the bush into lames, and a veritable wall of fire came up and down the Tadmor Hills towards Tapawera. Two thousand acre's of grass at Wangapeka were destroyed, and the new settlers are greatly concerned how to feed their *tock. as no iced has been left. Fortunately a change of wind in the afternoon .drove back the fire, or other thousands of acres of dry feed .across the river, would have been 'destroyed. The -rivers are lower than they have been for many, years. The Tadmor River is dry in many -places. All «ver the district the trout are dying in thousands, .and -several ftsb. of 61b and 81b weight have ibeen rescued from, the drying pools. Nearly 700 -trout -were removed from a brook at Nelson to Maitai, *nd hundreds -in the -country districts have been similarly saved. The principal " sufferers in Wangapekn. and Motueka Valley are Messrs Gbodall, MofEatt, Wells. - Hodg'kinson. Smith; Paul, Drew, and Griffiths. The weather is moderately 0001, but rain holds off. The fires around - Wangamoa and Maungatapu " have blackened the hills, and 'filled the town ' with .smoke. January 27. Saturday was one of the worst days yet experienced with bush and grass fires. Mr H: Baigent's sawmill at Aorere, ' ■with' 1 20,000ft-of timber; Haldane's dairy at Bainham, with the milking machines'? and Francis Baigent's "sawmill at Pigeon Gully * S?ere destroyed. - - Other settlers lest -sheep, firewood, an 4 fencing 1 . Thousands of .trees- in the timber ' * flistricte were destroyed. s_. The fires revived at Stanleybrook, JDove- '■ "dale, Wangapeka, and other, localities. ■ i Grass fires .along 'the railway line at Wai- - - iti were -started >by sparks 'from engines. "■ _Two thousand acres of grass ' were destroyed at Whangare and Croixelles. The Maoris" had hard work to prevent " their pa from being destroyed. In the city water is getting .scarce, while a.t Richmond complete restriction is noticed. News has been received from Takaka that the Long Plains creamery was destroyed by a bush fire this morning. There * are no insurances. - 4!lepor*-s of destruction by bush nres are still- coining to hand. At Upper Tadmor the dwellinghouse of - Mr E: Phillips, jun.. was burnt on Saturday evening. The fire is still spreading in this neighbourhood, arid" the settlers along the line have packed their movable effects and are ready to leave at short notice. At Korere the country for miles on each J side of -the road ie abkze. Mr E. Newport's homestead -at JKorere' is in great danger, and has been on fire once. In the Rainy district the settlers are very anxious .-• »wing to a -serious outbreak. A number of sheep were overtaken by - .' the ,fire while being idriven along the road at Dovedale -to\ a* place of safety and were destroyed. '-Messrs M*Phedran Bros.' homestead at ■ .Kohatu Was burnt this morning. A large _- sum in bank .notes was also -destroyed. There was no insurance on the contents, : but the. building was insured for £200 in the Commercial Union office. January 28. = - • -The insurances on the Long Plains creamery, destroyed by fire vesteiday, are £225 in the Standard office. It is not likely that it will be set up a#am jhis season, as tho tnilk supfiv .has fallen off owinsr to the drought, which is daily becoming more acute. The weather to-day is inclined to be Joudy, but it ifl difficult to distinguish tiie

clouds from fch« smoke of the bush fires. In many. localities the settlers are ready to quit their homes at a moment's notice. News has just been received that Robertson Bros.' sawmill at Rai Valley was burnt down. There are no insurances,, The property was valued at £2000. There is not much timber on the site, but the buildings and plant are valuable. It is not known how much has been saved.

With regard to the -supposed • burning of Robertson Bros', mill at Rai Valley, the news came from Havelock, but lacks con* firmation. A traveller from the Rai at Wangamoa fiaid there had been no fire. Further particulars are being sought. CHRISTCHURCH, January 22. A tremendous bush fire is raging on fcli9 Cora Lynn Estate, Bealey, sweeping the country for miles. The homestead and woolshed were threatened, but were saved by & sudden ohange of wind. The fire is supposed to have originated by ■& "fire .lighted by pasßongers stuck up at Bealey by the flood in the Waimakiriri last week, and has been smouldering since. The details to hand are meagre. mVJERCARGILL, January 22. A bush -fire is burning at Waikawa, It .is reported that the Waikawa Saw Milling Company's (Dunedin syndicate) mill was ' buwied down yesterday morning. No details are to hand.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW19080129.2.152

Bibliographic details

BUSH AND GRASS FIRES., Otago Witness, Issue 2811, 29 January 1908

Word Count
2,186

BUSH AND GRASS FIRES. Otago Witness, Issue 2811, 29 January 1908

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