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HomeAus & NZGreymouth fires ‘arson’

Greymouth fires ‘arson’

'Quick read' news summary

Exhausted and frustrated Greymouth firefighters are praying for respite after more deliberately lit fires in the town last night kept them from their beds for several hours.

While some relief arrived this morning, Fire and Emergency NZ said the 15 to 20mm of rain might not be enough to counter the tinder dry conditions across the region — and with a suspected arsonist at work.

“This rain will help a little bit but not much,” Greymouth fire chief Lee Swinburn said.

FENZ today extended the restricted fire season into Westland district, joining the ban imposed last week on Grey and Buller districts.

West Coast police urged residents who notice any suspicious behaviour to notify them immediately as they try to ‘smoke out’ the firebug, with four suspicious fires this week alone.

The calls last night were “straight out arsons”, Swinburn said.

“They have been deliberately lit … totally unnecessary.”

The first call was at 7.30pm to John Sturgeon Park, where a rubbish skip had been set alight. Then at 10.30pm a blaze erupted in bush along Watson Creek, Karoro, where someone had torched the bone-dry scrub behind the foreshore.

A large area of bush was burnt and it took four Greymouth fire crews with over 20 firefighters to bring it under control, Swinburn said.

“That is a suspicious arson. That fire started in the bush, not on the beach.”

Volunteers finally left the scene at 1.15am.

It capped off weeks of local fire volunteers being stretched to their limits, including seven beach fires in the past month alone.

On Wednesday, 23 volunteer firefighters and a helicopter with monsoon bucket spent hours quelling a suspicious fire on the beach at Blaketown in 28 degree heat. That night they were also called to a

Exhausted and frustrated Greymouth firefighters are praying for respite after more deliberately lit fires in the town last night kept them from their beds for several hours. "This rain will help a little bit but not much," Greymouth fire chief Lee Swinburn said. On Wednesday, 23 volunteer firefighters and a helicopter with monsoon bucket spent hours quelling a suspicious fire on the beach at Blaketown in 28 degree heat.

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