Burn-off used as a practice run for station

By Roger Moroney

1 comment
LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: A large burn-off at Rissington Station on Sunday proved to be a good training exercise. PHOTO/Bronwyn Farquarson
LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: A large burn-off at Rissington Station on Sunday proved to be a good training exercise. PHOTO/Bronwyn Farquarson

Sunday's big burn-off of scrub across about 60ha of Rissington Station west of Napier was almost the perfect fire, NZ Forestry Management co-Ceo Steve Bell said yesterday.

"It went very well and we had no major issues at all."

The 10-man fire team of staff from NZ Forest Management, Bay Forests and Rissington Station had been waiting for the right conditions to set the blaze across what Mr Bell described as "non-usable" land at the station.

What they needed was a north-westerly wind so the fire could be safely steered in the right direction and followed by a cooling moist southerly.

"We have been closely monitoring the weather and we got the permit for the fire last week - on Sunday it was just perfect for us."

Residents across the greater Rissington area were first notified of the planned burn-off about six months ago.

"We wanted to talk to them about any concerns they may have had about it," Mr Bell said.

Bronwyn Farquharson, who lives on Glengarry Rd, said the meeting was informative and valuable and residents were happy with what they heard.

Mr Bell said an email was sent out to residents on Saturday advising it would be taking place the following day.

Mrs Farquharson said the information was accordingly posted on the Rissington Community Group website as well as the Rissington Facebook page.

"And we all had the best spots to watch it from," she said.

Mr Bell said the valley which was burned-off was filled with gorse and blackberry and while burn-offs had become rare in recent years it was decided the most effective way was to put the torch to it.

"It was a good opportunity for two reasons - one was that it would make better use of the land and secondly it was very good in terms of a training exercise."

The only slight deviation from it being the perfect burn-off was when one edge of the fire spread to a stand of eucalyptus trees but it was quickly contained. Mr Bell said the result surprised many of those involved, including the station owners, as it had effectively taken all the unwanted growth away.

Mrs Farquharson agreed, saying she had gone to have a good look at the site and was impressed how clear it had now become.

The area will be commercially planted with pine trees.

"We are looking to begin planting around June," Mr Bell said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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