Whatatutu blaze threatens houses

Eight crews and helicopter with monsoon bucket tackle fire.

Eight crews and helicopter with monsoon bucket tackle fire.

FIRE broke out in the Whatatutu waste transfer station near the settlement yesterday afternoon and firefighters had to work hard to stop it spreading up a nearby hill and threatening houses and the local school.

The fire broke out at around 4pm and drew crews from Whatatutu, Te Karaka and Patutahi volunteer brigades, plus an appliance and tanker from the Gisborne fire service and Rural Fire units. In all, about eight crews and a helicopter with a monsoon bucket tackled the blaze.

“The fire started somehow in the waste material and was discovered by contractors working on site,” said Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson.

It took about an hour-and-a-half to put out.

“It had the potential to develop into a significant fire because of the strong gusty winds blowing at the time,” CFO Simpson said.

“It spread from the station into thick, dry grass alongside the transfer station and then travelled about 80 metres up the hillside before it was stopped.”

The fire ground covered an area of about 300 metres by 100 metres.

“We managed to stop it spreading at the road, which served as a good fire break.”

Rural Fire crews remained at the scene into the evening to deal with any hot spots.

“We had people there until about 8pm, by which time we were satisfied the fire was completely out,” said rural fire force controller Tony Kendrew.

“The heat of the day made it a tough job for the fire crews. They did a great job.”

Mr Kendrew said there was growing concern among fire authorities about how combustible vegetation was becoming around the region because of the hot dry conditions.

“People need to be extremely vigilant and immediately report any fire sightings.”

FIRE broke out in the Whatatutu waste transfer station near the settlement yesterday afternoon and firefighters had to work hard to stop it spreading up a nearby hill and threatening houses and the local school.

The fire broke out at around 4pm and drew crews from Whatatutu, Te Karaka and Patutahi volunteer brigades, plus an appliance and tanker from the Gisborne fire service and Rural Fire units. In all, about eight crews and a helicopter with a monsoon bucket tackled the blaze.

“The fire started somehow in the waste material and was discovered by contractors working on site,” said Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson.

It took about an hour-and-a-half to put out.

“It had the potential to develop into a significant fire because of the strong gusty winds blowing at the time,” CFO Simpson said.

“It spread from the station into thick, dry grass alongside the transfer station and then travelled about 80 metres up the hillside before it was stopped.”

The fire ground covered an area of about 300 metres by 100 metres.

“We managed to stop it spreading at the road, which served as a good fire break.”

Rural Fire crews remained at the scene into the evening to deal with any hot spots.

“We had people there until about 8pm, by which time we were satisfied the fire was completely out,” said rural fire force controller Tony Kendrew.

“The heat of the day made it a tough job for the fire crews. They did a great job.”

Mr Kendrew said there was growing concern among fire authorities about how combustible vegetation was becoming around the region because of the hot dry conditions.

“People need to be extremely vigilant and immediately report any fire sightings.”

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