Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

Firewood boon on the Coast after storm

The great storm of last week has had an unexpected boon – free firewood galore just heading into winter.

People have been out with chainsaws throughout the West Coast since Good Friday sawing up the masses of windblown trees. 

Some were a little too keen, prompting the Sea Scouts to issue a plea for people to not touch the fallen trees behind their hall in Blaketown, which was also badly damaged in the winds.

Spokeswoman Natalia Blair said they wanted to use the windfall for their own fundraising.

Grey District Council assets manager Mel Sutherland said the council had been approached by several logging companies interested in recovering native trees which have fallen on to road reserve.

It just had to confirm the trees were in fact on road reserve before giving the green light.

The upside was that would create extra work for logging companies, Mr Sutherland said. 

Retired Whataroa farmer Malcolm MacRae, who is surrounded by devastation, was trying to look on the bright side. “We won’t have to worry about firewood for the next 100 years.”

Department of Conservation partnership ranger Cornelia Vervoorn, of Franz Josef Glacier, today issued a gentle reminder that fallen native trees were not just debris to clear away, or free timber for the taking.

“In the forest ecosystem they support a huge range of insect and birdlife, providing hollows for kiwi and kea to nest in, habitat for huhu grubs, and a growing medium for fungi and ferns,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Insurance Council is expecting about 1500 claims to be lodged from West Coasters affected by last week’s storm.

Chief executive Tim Grafton said today they were still collating information from insurers.

Mr Grafton encouraged people with major structural damage to get in touch with their insurer, if they had not already. He also asked they did not put themselves at risk by going back into damaged buildings.

“If you need alternative accommodation then raise that with your insurer,” he advised.

People with minor damage, which was not urgent, should also get in touch.

He said people could take photos of minor damage, get a quote for repair and provide that to their insurer.

A team of insurance assessors arrived in Greymouth today as the rebuild begins.

Greymouth AMI manager Rod Brown said assessors had been brought in and were prioritising jobs.

The company had received hundreds of claims so far. Although some were for severe damage, and some of AMI’s clients had moved to temporary accommodation, the vast majority of claims were for fences, missing bargeboards and garden sheds. 

Some clients had already called in the builders, and re-roofing was under way, Mr Brown said.

– NZ Herald/APNZ


Andrew on 24/04/2014 3:12am

It’s not really ‘a boon’ as we’re just heading into winter as it won’t burn green.  If it does it’ll just produce loads of smoke.  Some native woods need to be seasoned for 2 years.   They’ll have to continue with the fossil stuff till then!

John Gaul on 24/04/2014 8:43am

Good comment with relevance to the title of this item.

Yes, any firewood would be unsuitable to burn as the West Coast is noted to it’s wet envoirement.

Maybe the totara could be used for more usefull purposes like building, furniture, flooring etc.,


Related Articles