Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thurs, Feb 14, 2013
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, February 14, 2013 --- 5 By CHRIS HARROWELL ASPATE of deliberately lit blaz- es in recent weeks has an expe- rienced frefghter urging the public to remain vigilant around reserves and public spaces. Howick fre station offcer Dave Hatton is spreading the word for people to keep an eye out for suspicious activity after his team extinguished eight fres between February 1-6. Incidents they dealt with on February 1 include a scrub fre at 5.20pm on the northern side of Pigeon Mountain in Buck- lands Beach, at 8.20pm in Mur- vale Reserve in the same suburb, and 10.40pm in Sir Lloyd Drive, Pakuranga. Fires were also lit at 5am on Feb- ruary 2 in Bell Reserve, Pakuranga, and 1.50pm the following day along the walkway under Moonies Bridge, Highland Park. On February 6, there were fres started at 9.15am and 10.20am in Murvale Reserve, and 6pm on the walkway behind PlaceMakers Pakuranga in Pakuranga Road. It’s unknown if any of the recent fres are part of a series of arsons in East Auckland since last June. “There’s a person out there light- ing fres, with Murvale Reserve being the hot spot,” Mr Hatton told the Times. “People who use this reserve or live in homes that back onto it need to be especially vigilant. “The fres are becoming bigger and we’ve been lucky so far they haven’t grown.” Mr Hatton plans to speak in coming weeks with East Auck- land school pupils about the con- sequences of lighting fres and is organising a mail drop to residents living along Macleans Road, adja- cent to Murvale Reserve. He also intends to speak with Auckland Council park rangers to see if they can help. “If these fres had grown, there are only two possible scenarios,” he says. “One is that we would lose Murvale Reserve and the beautiful bush so many people enjoy. “The second is if we lost that bush, the potential is for the fre to spread to the houses that back onto the reserve. “This is becoming really serious. We urge people to phone 111 if they see suspicious behaviour, or smell smoke coming from a reserve.” Mr Hatton says East Auckland frefghters are frustrated at spend- ing so much time battling blazes that shouldn’t have been started. “It ties up fre crews that may urgently be needed elsewhere,” he says. “With that fre at Pigeon Moun- tain, we had two fre trucks there for more than two hours. “The consequences of these fres are growing. “We want to highlight the recid- ivist nature of the person who’s lighting these fres and the grow- ing intensity of their actions. “There could be grave conse- quences come about if one of these fres took hold. “We don’t want to alarm people, but they need to be on alert. “The best way to stop this type of behaviour is for the whole com- munity to play its part and work together.” People with information on deliberately lit fres in East Auck- land can phone detective James Ralph, of Counties Manukau East Police’s criminal investiga- tion branch, on 261-1300, or the Crimestoppers free and anony- mous tip-off line, 0800-555-111. SENDING MESSAGE: Howick fire station officer Dave Hatton wants people to be on alert for suspicious behaviour in public reserves after dealing with a number of arsons in parks and bush. Times photo Chris Harrowell Heated warning over fires Boaties left high and dry A SURGE of vessels running aground kept Coastguard volunteers busy in the run-up to Waitangi Day. On February 5, three calls from vessels were received before 9am, which rescue boats from Coastguard Maraetai and Waiheke Island responded to. Two craft, one o Ponui and the other o Waiheke Islands, had hit rocks. Another o Waiheke Island was dragging its anchor causing it to drift ashore. However, none of the vessels were taking on water and all the occupants chose to stay on-board. Coastguard advised the tide times and reassured them they would be safe to wait for the tide to rise so their vessels could re oat. Correct use of marine communications was the reason for Coastguard's quick response to the incidents, says Ray Burge, northern region duty o cer. Boaties, he says, must check the marine weather forecast before heading out on the water. They should also carry two forms of waterproof communication and familiarise themselves with Coastguard's marine VHF channels. "New Zealand's weather can be highly unpredictable," he says. "Boaties should check the local marine weather forecast and expect weather and sea state changes." Roaring Thunder Run THE sound of thunder will ll the air on south- east rural roads this weekend, courtesy of more than 1000 Harley-Davidson motorbikes. The Auckland Harley Owners Group hosts its national organisation (H.O.G.) rally, celebrating the 110th anniversary of the iconic motorcycle, including the renowned "Thunder Run". It takes place between 10am and noon this Saturday. Bikers travel down the Southern Motorway, turning o at Redoubt Road. They'll head down Mill Road to the Brookby roundabout, climb over the West Road hill to Clevedon and back to the motorway via Maraetai, Whitford and Alfriston. A special participating rider is Bill Davidson, of Milwaukee, great-grandson of Harley- Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson. NEWS BITES The summer of entertaining is almost upon us but without the right cooking facilities it could turn into a summer of discontent. Luckily, there's Arrow Plumbing & Gas to assist with all kitchen needs. Its talented and experienced team have seamlesslyfitted thousands of homes with gas and plumbing solutions for more than 30 years, making them the go-to experts in the area and beyond. For fast and cost-effective cooking, many people are turning to free-standing gas cookers which have been doing the rounds on the foodie circuit. But before installing, there are a few things to note. 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