BREAKING NEWS
Canterbury claims Ranfurly Shield from Waikato ... Read more
Close

Driver's quick action stops forest blaze spreading

Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014

Relevant offers

Wairarapa

Scott Truger, father of young crash victim Konrad Truger, has also died in a car crash Wairarapa teen makes Wellington national league football squad Wairarapa crayfish stocks dwindle, call for a reduced take for 'up to three years' Westpac small town closures leave locals feeling the bank 'doesn't care' Judge Dredd of the New Zealand bush is laying waste to rodent predators WaiBush face true test of credentials in next two heartland matches Millions of tax payer dollars spent on three Wairarapa dams based on disputed figures Police actions justified in two fatal pursuits, IPCA finds Former Wairarapa College dux to walk same halls as Byron and Darwin Out of the shadows and into the limelight for mayoral candidate Sue Fox

A truck driver delivering drinking water used his cargo to fight a Wairarapa forest fire.

"He saw the fire, stopped, set his pump up, got his hose out and started fighting the fire by himself - fantastic dedication," said Wairarapa rural fire chief Phill Wishnowsky, who arrived at the scene shortly afterwards.

The fire yesterday was caused by power lines being blown on to highly flammable pine branches and then arcing. More fires were likely during summer unless power companies and plantation owners stepped up, Mr Wishnowsky said.

Four fire trucks and two tankers were needed to quell the blaze, which was reported about 12.45pm and affected almost half a hectare of a pine plantation in the Blairlogie district east of Masterton.

If the tanker driver had not helped fire crews quickly control the fire, it could have easily spread to neighbouring plantations in the hot, windy conditions, Mr Wishnowsky said.

A helicopter was called in but was not needed. A spokesman for Masterton's McAuley's Transport said the driver who fought the blaze, identified only as "Nathan", would be getting a pat on the back.

"He was first there and he took action . . . just the luck of the draw, you don't want it to blast into a big fire or anything stupid."

McAuley's had put tankers on standby in the past for fires but it was the first time a driver had actually fought a fire, he said.

Mr Wishnowsky called legislation governing the trimming of trees close to lines "vague", and said electricity provider Powerco and Wairarapa plantation owners needed to take more responsibility for preventing similar fires.

"The forest owner can say it wouldn't be a problem if the lines weren't there, and Powerco can say it wouldn't be a problem if the trees weren't there . . . so rural ratepayers pay the bill, which is wrong."

Neighbouring plantation owner Murray Ford said the management of power lines through plantations was "haphazard".

"There should be a regular patrolling system, every branch close to a line dealt with, instead of waiting for a bloody fire to come through." He checked his plantation annually and got dangerous branches trimmed but wanted more co-operation from Powerco.

Powerco spokesman Phil Marsh said the company was working with land and tree owners to keep their trees away from lines.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

How many coffees do you have a day?

5 or even more

3-4

2

1

Anything from 1-5.

Don't touch the stuff.

Vote Result

Related story: Coffee as we know it at risk of dying

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content