Introduction

Co-operation of various fire crews and great support from local communities have been vital to the success of fire-fighting efforts at Mahia.

Date:  03 February 2009

The co-operation of various fire crews and great support from local communities have been vital to the success of fire-fighting efforts at Mahia according to Principal Rural Fire Officer, John Sutton of the Department of Conservation.

“The current situation is that evacuated families have been able to return to their homes and our focus has moved from the YMCA Road area to the northern end of the fire. It was fortunate that today’s forecasted high temperatures did not happen and there was a reasonable amount of cloud cover. We still had some flare ups but were able to keep on top of them,” Mr Sutton said.

Seven crews including fire-fighters from Taranaki, Palmerston North, Hastings, Bay of Plenty and local forestry staff have been attacking the fire today. The move towards the northern end of the fire has involved working in the remains of large pines that still hold great heat and have potential to re-ignite. This evening, four fresh crews and smoke chasers, will work through the night to contain hot spots.

The fire destroyed one house and damaged two caravans, one boat, one ute, sheds and fences on four properties. In addition it destroyed six structures in the former YMCA camp, including one large building and five chalets.

“Fighting this fire has taken a huge effort from everyone involved. Today with crews from various areas, I have been really impressed with the way everyone has worked so well together. The support from local people has also been superb. They have really looked after us well with everything from donated coffee from a Gisborne business to crayfish from the locals supplied for this evening’s meal,” Mr Sutton said.

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