While we can’t quite shake off the rain, the warm weather has finally appeared and, now that we won’t be needing our fires for a while, our well-used chimneys can be swept so they will be ready and safe for next winter. Also a reminder that we are now in the Restricted Fire Season and any open fires must be permitted. Please contact Rotorua Lakes Council for this, and check the conditions and any restrictions in force on the day of your permitted burn. Please also remain vigilant for signs of smoke in the bush and surrounding areas.
Rotorua Lakes Council recently organised a controlled burn on Great West Road in Pukehangi to eradicate large areas of gorse on farmland in that area. This burn was used as a live training exercise over two days for all three of the local Rural Fire Forces: Okareka, Rotoiti and Tarawera. The first day was hampered by persistent rain but the second day provided perfect conditions to carry out the remainder of the burn. The various crews gained invaluable experience and skills in dealing with a live fire scenario and, dare I say it, the all female crew, under Ray Doyle’s leadership, stood out on the day
The Okareka Fire team will be helping out and assisting in the consent/permitting process, and have facilitated the fundraising by accepting donations through their website page for the display. We also welcome feedback on the timing of the event to ensure we cater for families of all ages. You can go to the following web page for more details of the display and to make donations: www.okarekaruralfire.com/donate. Alternatively, feel free to call Dennis directly for any queries on 0275966942 or 3628 737.
On another fundraising note, a team of eight from the Fire Force have entered for the 2017 Sky Tower Stair Climb. This will be the fourth consecutive year for Lake Okareka Rural Fire. The team for next year includes two of our youngest members, Thomas Firth and Amber Muldoon, who will be joined by Rasmus Andersen, Blair Gilbert, Stu Lyall, Phil Rennie, Lewis Shaw and myself. This event raises funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand to support victims and their families. The 2016 Stair Climb again raised over $1 million for this worthy cause. If you would like to support the Lake Okareka Rural Fire team for next year’s Sky Tower Challenge, you can make donations via: https://firefightersclimb.org.nz/.
If you have been thinking about joining the Fire Force, please come down to the fire station at 7.30pm on a Wednesday night when we do training or phone me on 3628 874. You can also go to our website: www.okarekaruralfire.com.
Chief Fire Officer