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A collage of images taken by the Puriri brigade throughout 2022. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Near-record number of calls for firies

While 2023 has started quietly for the Puriri Volunteer Fire Brigade, the crew had one of their busiest years in 2022, with 72 calls for assistance.
Chief fire officer Wayne Cryer told The Profile that the brigade usually averaged between 50-60 calls per year, with the most on record being 75.
“Looking at the calls for 2022, we had quite a lot through the summer months where approximately 40 of those 72 calls were for grass and vegetation fires and burn-offs out of control,” he said.
“It was certainly a hotter and drier season compared to the start of 2023, which has seen us receive a lot of rain.”

While the brigade might have been busy with calls for assistance, they still found time to organise events for the Puriri community by hosting both an ‘Easter Rock Hunt’ and a ‘Christmas Eve Lolly Scramble’ throughout the year.
“We really enjoy seeing the community come and enjoy these events with us. The atmosphere is positive and inspiring and reminds us that we do have the support of our community for what we do,” Mr Cryer said.
“There is one young community member, who is about two-years-old, who is always standing on the corner with a parent when the siren sounds and waves to the truck when we’re heading off to help someone in need.
“We appreciate the gesture and support.”
In July, 2024, the brigade will celebrate a significant milestone: 50 years of service to the community.
Mr Cryer said the brigade hoped to plan an event to mark the occasion.
In the meantime, the public needed to “remain vigilant” in the coming months, with the weather having the potential to become warmer and drier.
“There’s plenty of grass growth out there that won’t take long to start drying out after a few of those scorcher days,” he said. “Dry and windy conditions can make it risky to light a fire or do work that can create sparks or heat.”
He encouraged the community to visit the checkitsalright website before lighting a fire.
DETAILS: The Puriri Volunteer Fire Brigade is looking for more members to join their team, especially those who could be available during the daytime. The brigade currently has 13 members, made up of seven men and six women, and it would like about 16 members all up. To express your interest to join, or to find out more contact the brigade via their Facebook page or visit the station on a training night, Thursdays at 7:30pm.