Thursday, February 16, 2017


This morning  the shiny suits, socialists and moronic armchair spurts are kicking Gerry Brownlie for  questioning  the response to what is now a disastrous fire event south west of Christchurch.

There is some room for  understanding that 1st term Selwyn District Mayor  Mayor Sam Broughton might be a little under prepared for such an event and sure it started in the very corner of his very large district just outside the City boundary in Early Valley, However that leaves the question as to where were City Mayor Dalziel and her well remunerated personal staff along with the extensive staff of the city that have jurisdiction in matters such as the unfolding disaster that began on Monday night.

Finally today there is a state of emergency in place and a total fire ban  from Timaru to the Conway River to reduce the risks as Fire crews are gathered to the Port Hills leaving a much reduced response capability across the provinces.

I am guessing that experience had Local Government head honcho and Hastings district mayor, Lawrence Yuile declaring a SoE very early as Hawkes Bay became endangered by at least three fires at  the end of last weekend. All now virtually extinguished.

Some background as to one simple step that the SoE empowers.
A HB Rural Fire Chief around 40 kms from Hastings who lost  considerable available capacity when the shiny suits ordered that his crew who had years of experience had to have more regulated training.
This in total disregard for their clear competence proven time and again in extinguishing fires before the Big Trucks loaded with awesome  resources arrived from Hastings Central with fully suited booted and hatted paid personnel. A bunch of people who regarded the local heroes as rather inferior beings before remounting their seriously equipped machines to return to station, having saved the nation again.

One thing the shiny suits fail to grasp in their garnering of their  salaries, Volunteers are massively in the majority in their response capability and quick amateur reaction is often decisive in extinguishing a fire.
So when the SoE was declared on Tuesday, a local volunteer fire chief immediately called my source to inquire if his tanker capacity was available as his considerable commercial ground spraying resources could be  commandeered in the altered  rules of engagement under  the SoE. Those resources include "Flick" a reconstituted orchard sprayer stripped off its original equipment to leave a 2000 litre tank with a pump and stolen fire hoses and fittings that stands ready in a shed able to be attached to any 4WD or farm ute and dragged to a fire by anyone with two brain cells and a current licence as if anyone ever checks. Anyone with minimal knowledge understands small volumes of water applied quickly can stop most fires especially in rural areas.

My HB source also  explained the stupid acts that led to one of the rural fires that threatened the parched HB hills earlier in the week. A brainless small block owner with money far in excess of common sense who is happy when grass stands to fence tops sent a minion to fix a water pipe. No prizes for guessing what the minion used to warm the alkathene pipe to facilitate placing onto the fitting,  a bloody gas canister mounted burner. My source also suggested that in HB this year  alkathene needs no warming unless it has cold water running through it.

All that said the massive elephant in the room field is the extensive fuel reserves that abound from idiotic planning rules that locally have a minimum of 50 Ha for a right to build a house.  Now many who choose a rural setting for any reason often only require around half a hectare to build a home sheds and dispose of effluent that with modern septic systems is a doddle on around 100 sq ms of sealed evaporation soil troughs. But no the educated and superior knowledge equipped "planners" know better, resulting in acres and acres of ground,  creating fuel for fires year on year and every decade or so it results in a disaster such as being endured on the western end of The Port Hills at present.
 If possible take a gander at the landscape after the smoke clears, grazed land made it possible to stop the fires while pine trees, eucalypts and wattle along with gorse and long ungrazed grass were wild fires just waiting for  ignition. a trigger that could come from a broken bottle, a cigarette butt, a spark from mower or similar, an electrical fault, just count the ways.

You were right this time Gerry there seemed a lack of urgency in planning and creating the response to what was a very dangerous event and my sympathy goes to the family who will now deal with the untimely death of Mr Askin who perished when his helicopter crashed near Sugarloaf, a true hero.
Of course had he not died he would have just been one of unsung true heroes who have been, and are still manning the fleet of aircraft who are doing incredible things in very trying and challenging conditions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I had dealings with the Fire Service after a fire in some pines forming part of a forestry block adjacent to a residential area. My engagement was to do with costs claimed under the Rural & Forest Fires Act. Incompetent doesn't begin to describe the fire fighting management but what was worse is that I caught them changing the section boundaries on their plan to put the fire completely within the forestry block to target the forest owner in isolation and leave a half dozen house owners alone. They got some money but way less than half what they wanted. There were so many hangers on in utes with flashing lights parked in a skid site used as a base they couldn't get the water tankers in. I hope this effort is different.