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Day spent battling ‘deep-seated’ blaze

Crews from three Wairarapa fire stations, along with a helicopter, were kept busy for hours extinguishing a slash pile fire on Sunday.

According to Masterton station officer Richard King, the call for the fire at Blairlogie east of Masterton came in at 7.10am and the crews didn’t leave the scene until 4pm.

“We arrived first with one appliance and a tanker, and so we took the lead,” King said.

“We had help from Tīnui, as well as Carterton, which supplied a tanker; we also had help from a helicopter from Wairarapa Helicopters.

“The spread of the fire ended up being 50 by 100 metres, and there was no threat to any nearby properties or structures.”

King also noted that the fire crews made use of a bulldozer to help contain the fire area.

Due to the fire being a long way from a water supply, the firefighters relied heavily on the tankers from Masterton and Carterton stations.

Carterton chief fire officer Bryan Styles confirmed his crew attended the incident after Masterton station requested a tanker.

“We supplied one tanker to assist, and we got there about 10- 30 minutes after Masterton fire station,” Styles said.

“Crews had to travel quite a distance to get water, and so the tankers were very much needed.

“Crews got back to the station at about 5.30 pm.”

King said the fire was “deep-seated”, which is why crews had to spend so long battling it.

“Usually, the larger slash fires end up with a deep-seated fire in the ground in the roots,” Masterton Fire Station’s readiness and recovery advisor Grant Detheridge-Davies told the Times-Age.

“You might not see the fire, but it can still be burning underneath, and if the ground gets dry, it can reignite.

Detheridge-Davies noted that these fires can and do reignite, sometimes six months after originally being lit.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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