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Firefighters flex their skills on Saturday

The United Fire Brigades’ Association [UFBA] is holding its annual Waterway Challenge at Carterton’s Carrington Park tomorrow, with teams from Carterton and Martinborough’s fire brigades set to participate.

The Waterway Challenge has been running since 1885, helping firefighters “put their hose-running and pump-operating skills to the test in a fun, safe, and competitive environment”.

The competition will include 19 different setups that cover rural and urban firefighting approaches.

“Firefighting relies on timing, technical expertise, and teamwork to save lives and property; the branch on the hose, hose to the pump, the standpipe to the hydrant, and each person playing their part,” a UFBA spokesperson said.

Although firefighters competing in the challenge have been training all year for the event, the participants will represent a range of experience, from blaze-hardened to fresh-faced.

The public is welcome to go along to cheer for their local fire brigade; the challenge will kick off at 9.30am and run through to about 4pm.

Teams of firefighters will be coming from Wainuiomata, Wellsford, Thames, Te Aroha, Havelock North, Morrinsville, Manly, Tairua, Mayor View, Eastland, Martinborough, and Carterton volunteer fire brigades.

Due to the water restrictions and shortages faced by the greater Wellington region, the UFBA North Island Waterway Challenge in Carterton will not be using the town water supply for the event.

Local brigades
kept busy

At about 4pm on Wednesday, brigades from Carterton, Martinborough, Masterton, Wainuioru, and Greytown attended to a grass fire in Ponatahi, Carterton that spanned an area of 100 metres by 80 metres [almost two acres].

A helicopter was called in to assist by dropping buckets of water on affected areas.

A second grass fire at Ponatahi on Wednesday was called in at 8.42pm and required a response from Carterton, Martinborough, and Masterton brigades.

A Fire and Emergency [Fenz] spokesperson confirmed it was “extinguished pretty quickly” as the local brigades were only on the scene for about an hour and a half.

The spokesperson confirmed there was no threat to any nearby dwellings, but could not confirm the location of the second Ponatahi fire or if it was a flare-up of the one dealt with earlier in the day.

Wairarapa’s coastline is currently in a prohibited fire season in which no open-air fires are allowed, and all existing permits have been revoked, while the rest of the region is operating under a restricted fire season in which permits are required.

Anyone lighting fires under permit this season is encouraged by Fire and Emergency to keep an eye on weather conditions for the coming days and to check the current fire risk levels as well as get tips on how to stay ‘fire safe’ at www.checkitsalright.nz.

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