Two months down, 10 to go. Shortly, I’ll be saying 10 down and two to go – time flies when your busy!
This summer period has seen your local brigade have one of the busiest yet, with a number of call‑outs both locally and in the greater Rotorua/Taupo area. All our new recruits are gaining valuable experience in the process.
One call-out, on a Sunday evening, was to a scrub fire where the old ski club road meets Millar Road. Approximately 50m² of bush was lost. However, it could have been much worse as that particular day was one of the hottest over the summer. Indications point to the possibility that the fire was deliberately lit. I would be keen to hear from anyone who has any information regarding this incident. Thank you to the local residents whose quick actions in calling the brigade and assistance at the scene helped save the surrounding bush.
I would take this opportunity to reiterate the fact that, although you have a local brigade, call-outs still need to be logged via the 111 system. This covers legal and insurance requirements for both the crew and the appliances. If you require our assistance, please dial 111 and request that we be responded. Phoning myself or other brigade members doesn’t start the process. In fact, this can cause lengthy time delays that can result in confusion and misinformation (you’ve all heard of Chinese whispers).
Our water tanker has proved to be a valuable asset for fire supression and as an emergency water resource. We know State Highway 5 pretty well now. The furthest we have gone recently is to Kinloch, near Taupo.
It was with considerable awe that I watched the tragedy of the bushfires in Victoria unfold on 7 February. In conjunction with the Rotorua District Council, we have two crews on standby for deployment. Myself and three other members from Okareka make‑up part of these crews. At the time of writing this article, four fires are still out of control in Victoria, with conditions expected to further deterioriate over the next week.
Thankfully, our climate and environment are not as volatile as in Australia. However, this highlights the need for us to be more aware of our local environment and the proximity of the bush to our homes. Let us hope that nothing of that magnitude ever happens here.
On that note, please remember that the restricted fire ban is still in force until 1 April.
For any residents interested in joining the brigade or wanting to contact us, please don’t hesitate to phone me on 362 8874.
Chief Fire Officer