High temperatures helped to spread fires on two big islands near Auckland. A fire on Waiheke Island started five days ago but is now under control with the help of helicopters with monsoon buckets. The fire destroyed 10,000 square metres of bushes.
A fire which started two days ago on Great Barrier Island is still not out. It was under control yesterday but started again. The weather has been very hot and dry. Pine trees along 1 km of a beach were burnt. Residents from 20 houses were evacuated from their homes but are now allowed to go back home. 40 volunteer fire-fighters have been fighting the fire but the navy is now helping them.
The army was probably responsible for fires in two other areas in New Zealand. Soldiers on army property in Canterbury and Waiouru were practising rifle shooting and throwing grenades. The grass is very dry at the moment because there has been very little rain. In Canterbury, the army rifle range is beside the area where there was a fire five days ago.
• useful idioms to learn: under control; (put) a fire out; responsible for; fight fires; very little = almost none
• monsoon buckets – helicopters drop these buckets in the sea or other place with water, then tip the water onto the fire.
• residents – people who live in a place
• evacuated – told to leave their home
• volunteer – this is not their job; they offer to help
• rifle range – area for practising shooting
• Present perfect – the weather has been hot; have been fighting; there has been very little rain. Use present perfect for something that started in the past and continues today.
• were practising – past continuous. It shows an activity which continued for a length of time in the past.
• past passive – pine trees were burnt (by fire); people were evacuated (by fire fighters). Use passive when we don’t need to know the subject.