High praise for crews battling Tasman fires

Helicopters using monsoon buckets dropping water on a flare-up in the Tasman bush fire in the Teapot Valley near Wakefield. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Mark Mitchell

Fire crews in the fire-sticken Tasman district are doing a brilliant job, says a Tairawhiti senior rural firefighter who was deployed to the zone on Saturday.

Tairawhiti rural fire team leader Tony Kendrew and Tairawhiti assistant area fire commander Rob Karaitiana were flown to the Tasman district to assist with the on-going containment work.

Mr Kendrew has been helping co-ordinate the helicopter operation.

“The air attack has been scaled back now because they have got right on top of it now,” he said this morning.

“It was an intense fire, devastating, and it had the potential to be a lot worse than what it was.

“I was surprised it didn’t burn further. The guys who were on the ground on the first day did a brilliant job.

“They were so lucky they didn’t lose more homes.”

Mr Kendrew said the heavy machinery operating for the past few days has finished a large firebreak around the entire perimeter of the blaze.

“They did some back-burning yesterday as well. The firefighting operation is being scaled down now. We have halved the number of choppers on site.”

However, Mr Kendrew said there was still a long way to go to declare the fire out.

“You’re talking about a month maybe, unless they get some serious rain.

“The hills down here are just all brown coloured. It’s just so dry.”

He expects to be down there until possibly Thursday or Friday.

A JNL forest fire team of 20 personnel remain on standby, to be called on if required.

  • See more on pages 5, 7 and 8 of the National news section in today's Gisborne Herald.

Fire crews in the fire-sticken Tasman district are doing a brilliant job, says a Tairawhiti senior rural firefighter who was deployed to the zone on Saturday.

Tairawhiti rural fire team leader Tony Kendrew and Tairawhiti assistant area fire commander Rob Karaitiana were flown to the Tasman district to assist with the on-going containment work.

Mr Kendrew has been helping co-ordinate the helicopter operation.

“The air attack has been scaled back now because they have got right on top of it now,” he said this morning.

“It was an intense fire, devastating, and it had the potential to be a lot worse than what it was.

“I was surprised it didn’t burn further. The guys who were on the ground on the first day did a brilliant job.

“They were so lucky they didn’t lose more homes.”

Mr Kendrew said the heavy machinery operating for the past few days has finished a large firebreak around the entire perimeter of the blaze.

“They did some back-burning yesterday as well. The firefighting operation is being scaled down now. We have halved the number of choppers on site.”

However, Mr Kendrew said there was still a long way to go to declare the fire out.

“You’re talking about a month maybe, unless they get some serious rain.

“The hills down here are just all brown coloured. It’s just so dry.”

He expects to be down there until possibly Thursday or Friday.

A JNL forest fire team of 20 personnel remain on standby, to be called on if required.

  • See more on pages 5, 7 and 8 of the National news section in today's Gisborne Herald.
Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the new identity and wellbeing focus of Trust Tairawhiti (formerly Eastland Community Trust)?