For the last couple of weeks it seems there are a couple of wild fires being reported every day, some that have made the news are reported here. They are often triggered by sparks from exhausts and mowers hitting stones. After a rather wet winter there was good growth in the early spring but since then there’s been little rain over most of the country, particularly down the east coast of the South Island. All that growth means plenty of fuel to carry a fire and now it’s crisp with unusually high temperatures and hot-dry norwest winds, people really need to be carefull. I did some fuel reduction around our house in early January and then we got the hay in so we can breathe a little easier.
I was knee-deep in a dryland remnant last Friday, lots of crisp sweet vernal and browntop when there was a whiff of smoke in the air. Directly upwind a paddock of semi-ripe grain was being harvested for silage and a spark from one of the machines had set the stubble alight, with a brisk breeze coming straight at us we were pleased to see the machinery operators got straight onto it, but I was still surprised at how quickly it spread and the trouble they had to get it out. Once the excitement was over I put my hand down into the grass and quickly found it uncomfortably hot down there out of the wind.
Ooh, bugger! Burning grass, as if I’m not sweating enough!
It doesn’t seem so many years ago that one of these fires got going in a ripper Norwester and moved so fast that the fire engines couldn’t keep up! So please take extra care when it gets this dry and try to avoid activities like mowing or using diesel and 2 stroke engines in the hotter, dryer parts of the day.