Quick call helps firefighters

Quick action helped firefighters battling a blaze within forest at the Waiora Scout Camp, near Mosgiel, yesterday.

A scout master and four scouts had set up a bivouac and were camped on a ridge within the camp's forest. They used a cellphone to call emergency services when vegetation caught fire just before 3pm.

Dunedin City Council principal rural fire officer Graeme Still said the scouts' quick response meant two helicopters with monsoon buckets were on the scene within minutes.

''They didn't muck around and it was because of their prompt call that we managed to get on to it really quickly.

"Another 10 or 15 minutes and it would have been a different story, but everything was in our favour,'' he said.

Less than 0.4ha of forest was burned.

Mosgiel and Roslyn fire crews attended, as well as Mr Still's rural crew with a tanker.

''My first priority was to send some guys in there to make sure the scouts were OK. I think they [scouts] learnt a big lesson, but they did very well, to be fair,'' he said.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz


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