Hope you have had a good summer. Sitting here writing this, listening to the rain on the roof signifies a welcome break in the weather which will help with the fire danger and dry conditions.
In addition to local call-outs and vegetation fires, we have had a very busy summer with firstly being deployed to assist with the Whitianga fire in mid-January, then having a couple of weeks at home before being deployed again to the Ripia Stream fire located in the Kawekas between Taupo and Hastings. This fire was inaccessible by road hence crews were flown in and out daily by helicopter. Unfortunately, due to the terrain and location, not to mention the state of emergency declared in Hastings, this fire to the best of my knowledge is still burning. Hopefully, after today, Mother Nature has dealt to it. Further to these two deployments, we were put on standby to assist in Hawkes Bay and most recently the same for Christchurch.
The build of our replacement water tanker is nearing completion. A huge thank you to the team at Patchell Stainless Ltd and, in particular, Wayne Gardner, who have worked with us throughout this project. Keep an eye out for the grand unveiling!
The Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force have commenced their training for the 2017 Sky Tower Stair Climb on 17 May. The team of eight 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. The event raises funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand to support victims and their families, so if you would like to support the Lake Okareka Rural Fire team for this year’s Sky Tower Challenge, you can make donations to individuals or the team via the following website: Fire Fighters Climb.
We have had several new members join up, most of whom have recently sat and passed their first unit standard on fire behaviour and safety.
Left to right - Clark McCarthy, Simon Smith, Matthew Gatenby, Thomas Firth, Phil Muldoon, Amber Muldoon, Brendon Kidd, Quinn McCarthy.
Chief Fire Officer