Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Burning man

Just back in nicely kippered from a big burn in the paddock below us. Our landlady asked us if we wouldn't mind clearing up the product of the loppers and the saw of herself and previous tenants over the years. We were happy to oblige. Because there is a strip of pines and also assorted farmland around us we applied for a permit.

On the day the person who permits these things was due to visit we got a call from the office saying he'd had to go to a big fire somewhere. Later listening to the Radio New Zealand National news we heard the reports of a huge fire in Central Otago. Three days later we were still hearing reports about it flaring up. I must digress here for a moment. None of our TV news watching friends had heard about this fire although it burned thousands of acres. One would have thought that might have made good TV. Radio still draws pictures in our heads.

When the man who permits things turned up a few weeks later we asked him had he been to the fire in Central Otago. He had and said that it was a near thing. It took the three reported days and more to get a handle on it. The fire started from a controlled, permitted burn off by a farmer (hey I'm a farmer I know what I'm doing). The Smoky Bears here are always warning Joe Public not to be lighting fires in dry conditions when they out camping but I don't think Joe and his missus and kiddiewinkies causes as much damage in fires as the responsible level headed farmer who knows what he's doing.

I innocently asked if the framer didn't listen to the weather forecast to make sure there were no gusts of wind due to carry the blaze far from its home. There was fierce muttering from the man who permits things which I took to mean the answer, in short, was 'No!'

Our fire is out now. I haveraked and levelled the ashes. I have dampened it down with two watering cans of H2O and will return shortly to the burning site to dampen some more.

If you hear of a big fire between Port Chalmers and Waitati it won't be because we were remiss. Somewhere a farmer is waiting for a dry windy day to get rid of an acre or so of highly flammable material.

Good luck now.

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