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FIRES.

The grass fires on the Port Hills formed a magnificent spectacle from Christchurch and the suburbs during Saturday night. From Heathcote valJey the scene was i weird in the extreme, and the residents j nearest the hills not unnaturally experienced some amount of anxiety. On Saturday afternoon, about 2 p.m., a sou of Mr George Edwards, resident near Oka : r, on the North road above Kaiapoi, | noticed fames rising from one of his , father's wheat stacks. Mr Edwards was iv Christchurch at the time. Assistance was sent for and effort 3 made to stop the 1 flames, but owing to the gale three large stacks of wheat were destroyed. Luckily the tire was prevented from injuring Mr Edwards' stables, which at one time were in danger. I Ou tbe same afternoon a considerable ( scrub fire took place at Mr Armstrong's, i at Waverley, but no great damage was done. , An extensive fire was raging in the bush at Woodbury on Friday last, and at one time it was feared that Mr Donkin's residence would be destroyed ; many of the smaller houses had almost miraculous escapes. As it is the amount of damage is somewhat considerable. The fire, it is thought, may have been caused through BOine scrub having been burned on the property of Messrs Webb and M'Cormiok some few days previously, the subsequent Nor'-westerly gale fanning some smouldering embers into a flame, which reached other parts of the bush. The residents turned out, assisting one another where I danger wa3 apprehended. The fire had burnt itsolf out towards night. Ou Thursday, a fire that had been smouldering in some swamp land on j Henderson and M'Beath's run for some j days, wasjstarted by the Nor'- wester, and j speading to the tussock land on Ellis' flab travelled with fearful rapidity, destroying fences and doing a large amount ! of damage. Mr .Jeffs lost a stack of oat 3 estimated to contain five hundred bushels, uninsured, also a whare and fencing, | and it was only by the greatest exertions that the other stacks were saved. I Mr Tom Powell's stacks were also in great danger for some time. Mr Charles Thompson was the next sufferer, the fire coming before the wind as fast as a horse could gallop ; and notwithstanding the efforts of Messrs Thompson, Seed, and others to prevent it crossing the road, the gorse fenco3 surrounding the homestead caught fire. The .flames rapidly spread to two stacks of oats, and it looked as if the barn, stable, and house were also doomed. This fortunately was not the case, though how they escaped is almost inexplicable. Mr Thompson e&timates his lobb at .£2OO. After this the wind dropped to a certain extent, and the fire was prevented from crossing the Cust by the efforts of Messrs Curie, Thompson, Seed, Rutherford, and others. The total distance travelled by the fire was between five and six miles. A bush fire started on Thursday night near Cooper's creek, West Oxford, and driven by a Nor'- west gale, Bpread rapidly through the undergrowth, which, owing to the long drought, is just now in a very dangerous condition. All Friday it continued to spread, until it has extended over some two miles of country, destroying in its course feed, fences, and firewood, posts and rails, &c, to a large extent. Fortunately, up to the time oi writing, no buildings nave been burnt beyond a shed or two. Last night (Friday) all along the Side School road the furniture was got out of the houses, and the women and children were. sent away in expectation of the worst 5 the men remaining to save the houses if possible. The heat and smoke were suffocating. About halt-past one the wind shifted for a short time to Southwest, but almost immediately veered back to its old quarter, and blew with hurricane force, bringing with it, most fortunately, heavy rain. To-day (Saturday) a hot dry Nor'-wester is blowing, the fire is turning back into the bush with great rapidity, and there is no knowing where or when it will stop. Several dwelling-houses, stables, sheds, and a stack of oats, all belonging to Mr H. Sharplin, are in great danger; and if the fire crosses the bush road and gets into the gorse fences aud dry tussock on the other side, the consequences will be serious. Willing hands were up all last ! night, and will be to-night, to do what can be done, and there is very little an Oxford bushman cannot do where pluck and readiness of resource are requisite. Mr Youngman had about JE2GO worth of Bleepers surrounded by fire last night, winch required careful watching, and I j hear that a lot of sheep were in the bush, and in all probability are burnt.

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FIRES. Star, Issue 6492, 11 March 1889

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