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A Fiery Ordeal.

DISASTROUS BUSH FIRES. FIVE SAWMILLS DESTROYED. GREAT LOSS OF PROPERTY. Every year about this time bush fires are common in Southland, and loss of property has nearly always followed, but the month of January, 1907, will long be remembered for the widespread destruction wrought by the flames, especially in Seaward Bush. No fewer than five sawmills have been swept out of existence, together with miles of tramways, stacks of timber, together with a number of private dwellings, and long stretches of fencing. The mills destroyed are A. R. Wallis l s at Hedgehope, Broad, Small and Co.’s and D. Fairweather’s, Tisbury, the Southland Sawmilling Co.'s, at Kapuka, and Timpany Bros’., at Tisbury. . , Fires have been burning in several p>oxts of the district for weeks-, and the earliest losses occurred at long bush, where Messrs Broad, Small and Co.’s sawmill is located. Nearly all the tramways have been destroyed ; also the dwellings of Mrs Coveney and Mr H. Munro. KAPUKA. The Southland Sawmilling Co.’s mill (which took the place of one destroyed a year ago) fell before the flames ; also the residences of Mrs Clarke and Mr Ryan. Mr C. Robinson, storekeeper, lost five small cottages, a large extent of fencing, and had ten acres of turnips spoiled. WAIMATUA. Mr Roberts’ house was gutted, and only some £5 worth of furniture saved. Others settlers also suffered loss, Mr M. Lindsay estimating the damage done in his case at £2OO. On Monday afternoon, when a strong north-westerly wind wais blowing, , Timpany’s mill caught fire, and .was speedily levelled to the ground. TISBURY. On Monday afternoon D. Fairweather’s mill at this place (“The Excelsior”) was burned down, together with Mr Nichol’s residence and outbuildings, and the railway shelter shed. Messrs Broad, Small and Co’s mill also shared the same fate, the loss in this case including 70,000 ft. of sawn and dressed timber. ASHER’S SIDING. The flames swept through Timpany Bros’, workings to the site of McCallum and Co.'s old mill, from which the plant was removed some weeks since. The tramway and several sheds were burned, but by dint of hard work the residents saved their dwellings. The lignite pit, which has been on fire for about a fortnight, and as the seam extends under the line, the railway department have been trying to flood the workings. WOODEND. Settlers in this district had a trying time of it on Monday night, and not a few of the Pine Co.’s employes had narrow escapes, some of them reaching Woodend in a state of exhaustion. Thanks to the use of the water in the tanks at the mill the fire wa»s kept back from the township, but fences, tramways, and bridges in the vicinity have severely suffered, while a number of residents have suffered loss. The Awarua school children had to run the gauntlet on Monday afternoon, the bush on both sides of the roadway being on fire in places. GREENHILLS. A number of fences and outhouses were burned down on Monday. Messrs McKenzie Bros, lost 15 chains of tramway, and Mr Anderson 30 chairs. Messrs Davidson and McDonald lost a large area of good bush, and but for the efforts of the residents still further damage would have been done. HEDGEHOPE. Mr A. R. Wallis’s mill was burned down early on Monday afternoon. Smoke was seen curling up from the enly dangerous side at 12.40 p.m., and an hour and ten minutes later the mill was gone. The men, led by the Manager, Mr Macintosh, did their best to save it, and when the fight became hopeless they removed the belting and small tools to a place of safety. MABEL BUSH. The loss here was confined to the Pine Co.’s tramway, half a mile of which was destroyed. OREPUKI. The shale works were threatened, stacks of timber on the grounds be-

ing speedily reduced to ashes, but a band of workers managed to beat off the flames. ROUND HILL. Mr Rose’s house has been destroyed by a bush fire. NOTES. Welcome rain set in about one a.mon Tuesday, and, continuing for some hours, removed immediate danger of further outbreaks in several districts. The downpour was voted a veritable godsend. As it fell through the smoke-laden air the water was tainted, and people using rain water noticed that it had a strong acrid flavour—as one old Scotchman put it, “I couidna mak’ oot whit wis wrang wi’ ma parritch.” It is estimated that thousands of rabbits must have perished in Seaward Bush. At the height of the fire, when it raged practically from Appleby to Oteramika, the sides of the railway line were thick with rabbits eager to escape from the burning bush on either side. The Pine Co.’s mill at Gorge Road, one of the best equipped in the district, escaped, but part of the tramway suffered. The Southland Sawmilling Co.’s mill was insured for £950. It is understood that Messrs A. R. Wallis and Broad, Small and Co. were not insured. Mr R. Martin, who recently settled at Maple Grove, Seaward Bush, lost a four-roomed house which was almost ynished. The Messrs Lawrence estimate the damage to their orchard at £3OO. One of the horses at the Southland Sawmilling Co.’s mill was burnt to death. Two County Council bridges near Kapuka were destroyed. Mr R. Cleave, our veteran nurseryman, suggests that the burned areas should be sown in grass so as 1 to forestall the crop of weeds sure to spring up.

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Bibliographic details

A Fiery Ordeal., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 48, 26 January 1907, Incorrect date

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A Fiery Ordeal. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 48, 26 January 1907, Incorrect date

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