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BUSH FIRES., Wellington Independent, Volume XV, Issue 1402, 31 January 1860
During the past raoiuli extensive hush fires have beeu raging in various parts of the Province. During January and February if. has long been customary ta hum off the timber felled in the clearings made during the previous year. There were no objection* to this practice formerly, when the country was thinly peopled, and the improvements made by many of them of such a trifling character as to create lit* tie alarm for the consequences ; but, for the last few years, bush '"burning has become so dangerous to the I3%fe 'amount of property to which every settled district can lay claim, that measures will hare<*rfce £*ken to restrict it, as soon as a wording $ftjymciiii Council is in operation. #^ ; In the W&ir&guMjiti extensive fire has been raging in the b)|fffl|-iraar Greytown, which we regret to say hfasfjfyte considerable damage to to the propeity of~«wferal industrious sealers. Mr. Moles who bad a splen.Ud 12 acre field of wheat, which would probably have yielded from fifty to sixty bushels to the acre, has had nearly the whole of it destroyed. His fences are also much injured. Other property and crops have been more or Jess damage , and much more has had a very narrow escr,pe of being entirely consumed. In the Upper Hutt, there has been much alarm in consequence of the hush being on fire in various directions, the sparks and flakes fro n which have been carried into situations, where, unless they had beeu timely ■ discovered, would hare proved very destructive. Aa an instance of the danger, it may be mentioned that while a child was at piny its clothes caught fire and they were not removed until the little fellow was sadly burned A totara bush fioin which a large quantity of split materials were supplied to Wellington, is almost entirely destroyed, together with some thousands of posts, rajis, palings, shingles, &c. Mr. ]Pli miner's saw mill was discovered to be on fire, at one o'clock on Sunday morning, the Bth instau», and in a few minutes the inhabitants of the neighbourhood were on the spot, rendering all the assistance in their power in saving property and endearouring to suppress the fire, but such was the fierceness of the flames and so intense the heat, that it was with difficulty any one could approach the burning mass. One of the neighbours broke open the engine house door, and saved many valuable circular and other saws, jand by the pulling down the further end of the building a steam engine has been saved from destruction. One engine has been considerably injured, and the mill entirely brunt to the ground. It was, we regret to say, uninsured. The origin of this calamity is unknown, but most probably it was caused by ignition from a bush fire. On the 21st a large fire broke out in the bush at the fern ground and for some time the mill of Mr. Petre, in that neighbourhood, was in danger. In the Porirua District, very large fires have kept the inhabitants on the gui vive, but by rendering each othei all the help they could they have succeded in preventing any of their houses from being brunt. The Episcopal Church at Johnson ville, has, however, been again destroyed. Its re- erection was only just completed, having been burnt a few years previously. A bridge has also been destroyed which has temporarily caused an entire stoppageof the traffic. In the Karort District, fencing and a few outhouses are the most' serious items of damages. The Lunatic Asylum was at one time in danger, but by turning out the inmates to pour water on the roof, all it jury was averted. In the Onariu District, Mr. Connelly's large house was totally burnt on the 23rd. The inmates were out, the person left in charge having gone up a hill close by to look at the bush burning in the neighbourhood ; the house in the meanwhile caught fire, how, it cannot be surmised, and little or nothing was saved. It was a new house and ouly partially insured. A house in the town, was burnt down the! same night, but of course not from its proximity (o bush tires. It broke out about 11 o'clock, in the house occupied by Mr. 80110, carpenter Hill-street, Thorndon, which in about twenty minutes entirely destroyed it. The inmates hud retired to rest about 10 o'clock, and did not awake until the downstairs and a portion of the roof were in a blaze. Fortunately, the children were sleeping down stairs, otherwise it is feared they roust have perished ; as it was, . no one in the liouse escaped with more than I their night clothes. Soine defect in the chimney is supposed to be the cause, but whenever a fire's origin is doubtful, this isgenerally the cause to which it is attributed, and very frequently i without the slightest ground for so doing. The loss will be great, as the whole of Air., Rollo'a carpenter's tools which were of a superior character, have, in addition to the 1, 0e and furniture been completely burnt, and are only partially insured. Fears woe entertained for Mr. Oostali's house almost adjoining, which was only prevented from takingtire by the exeitions uf the inhabitant, whom the iilarrn bells had succeeded in gathering. The fiercenees of the wind drove Hakes of fire across Mr Bowler's paddock, and considering the dryness of the season, it may be looked upon as little short of a miracle
' : that a much larger extent of property was not I destroyed. The military on this, as on all ; former occasions were quickly at the scene of ; action, and under the able superintendence of Captain Turner, rendered most effective service. The public seem at last aroused to the Becessity of a ire brigade. The Coroner, Dr. Kebbell, pointed out to the jury at the inquest on the above, the necessity for some notice being taken of the inadequate means at our disposal for extinguishing fires, when they added the | following rider.— •♦ That tue majority of this Jury cflinot but too stiongly impress upon the managers of the two Insurance offices in this town, and the Inhabitants generally, the necessity of encouraging as far as they are able, und as soon as possible, the formation of two distinct fire Brigades, one far for each district in the town, namely, Te Aro and Thorndou." Attempts are now being made to form volunteer Fire Brigades, for which purpose names are invited to be sent in up to Wednesday next, wheu it is hoped something practical may be adopted.
BUSH FIRES., Wellington Independent, Volume XV, Issue 1402, 31 January 1860
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