Mahanga mop-up continues

Crews focus on hot spots and once stabilised, infrared camera to be deployed.

Crews focus on hot spots and once stabilised, infrared camera to be deployed.

RURAL Fire expect it could take at least two more days to completely account for all the hot spots on the fireground around the Mahanga Beach settlement on the Mahia Peninsula.

The blaze broke out just after 3pm on Sunday afternoon in grass, scrub and pine slash just south of the settlement.

It took the crews from up to 20 fire appliances and six helicopters four hours to contain the 20-hectare fire.

“The crews that remained on site yesterday dealt with a small flareup in the morning,” said Wairoa District Council principal rural fire officer Don Scott.

“It was not serious and was dealt with fairly quickly by them.”

Mr Scott said forestry firefighting crews, principally from the Bay Forest Rural Fire Authority, would remain at Mahanga until the situation was completely stabilised.

A Rural Fire crew from Gisborne has also been involved down there since Sunday.

“With high temperatures forecast and wind for today and tomorrow it’s essential we keep crews on site until any possibility of reignition of the fire has gone,” Mr Scott said.

“Old shelter belt material and tree stumps remain a cause for concern and have to be dealt with.”

Monsoon bucket

A helicopter was used again yesterday with a monsoon bucket to further cool things down.

“We have been working the southern and northern flanks of the fire ground to safeguard any further spread,” said incident controller Gerald Haynes.

“We have still been dealing with thousands of hot spots.”

Mr Haynes met with Mahanga residents yesterday afternoon to bring them up to date what was going to happen.

“They understand we will be around for another couple days, until the last hot spot is out and they are very happy about it.

“They have been full of praise for the way the firefighting effort has been handled.”

One of the Mahanga bach owners, Chris Patheyjohns, joined in the chorus of praise for the fire crews.

He told the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper that “they knew exactly where to hit it”.

Like other residents he was grateful the wind change happened when it did.

“If it had crossed the road into the settlement we would have been goners.”

Don Scott said when the fireground has stabilised it would be overflown by a helicopter fitted with an infra-red camera, to pick up any remaining hot spots.

“We had firefighters from right round Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne involved at Mahanga on Sunday afternoon.

“On behalf of the Wairoa District Council I wish to express our appreciation for their help.”

Mr Scott, formerly from Gisborne, has been discharged from Hawke’s Bay Hospital after he was injured while taking part in a firefighting operation on Mohaka Hill on Saturday.

He fell 10 metres and was injured when he slipped on a steep hillside.

Mr Scott was longlined out by rescue helicopter, flown to hospital and yesterday he was allowed to return home.

RURAL Fire expect it could take at least two more days to completely account for all the hot spots on the fireground around the Mahanga Beach settlement on the Mahia Peninsula.

The blaze broke out just after 3pm on Sunday afternoon in grass, scrub and pine slash just south of the settlement.

It took the crews from up to 20 fire appliances and six helicopters four hours to contain the 20-hectare fire.

“The crews that remained on site yesterday dealt with a small flareup in the morning,” said Wairoa District Council principal rural fire officer Don Scott.

“It was not serious and was dealt with fairly quickly by them.”

Mr Scott said forestry firefighting crews, principally from the Bay Forest Rural Fire Authority, would remain at Mahanga until the situation was completely stabilised.

A Rural Fire crew from Gisborne has also been involved down there since Sunday.

“With high temperatures forecast and wind for today and tomorrow it’s essential we keep crews on site until any possibility of reignition of the fire has gone,” Mr Scott said.

“Old shelter belt material and tree stumps remain a cause for concern and have to be dealt with.”

Monsoon bucket

A helicopter was used again yesterday with a monsoon bucket to further cool things down.

“We have been working the southern and northern flanks of the fire ground to safeguard any further spread,” said incident controller Gerald Haynes.

“We have still been dealing with thousands of hot spots.”

Mr Haynes met with Mahanga residents yesterday afternoon to bring them up to date what was going to happen.

“They understand we will be around for another couple days, until the last hot spot is out and they are very happy about it.

“They have been full of praise for the way the firefighting effort has been handled.”

One of the Mahanga bach owners, Chris Patheyjohns, joined in the chorus of praise for the fire crews.

He told the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper that “they knew exactly where to hit it”.

Like other residents he was grateful the wind change happened when it did.

“If it had crossed the road into the settlement we would have been goners.”

Don Scott said when the fireground has stabilised it would be overflown by a helicopter fitted with an infra-red camera, to pick up any remaining hot spots.

“We had firefighters from right round Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne involved at Mahanga on Sunday afternoon.

“On behalf of the Wairoa District Council I wish to express our appreciation for their help.”

Mr Scott, formerly from Gisborne, has been discharged from Hawke’s Bay Hospital after he was injured while taking part in a firefighting operation on Mohaka Hill on Saturday.

He fell 10 metres and was injured when he slipped on a steep hillside.

Mr Scott was longlined out by rescue helicopter, flown to hospital and yesterday he was allowed to return home.

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