Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fires prompt police warning

Cobram police are investigating two fires in the past week which they have deemed suspicious.

JESSICA GRIMBLE January 30, 2013 4:15am

Authorities want people to show caution, especially on Total Fire Ban Days.

Cobram police are investigating two fires in the past week which they have deemed suspicious.

Acting Senior Sergeant John Higgins said the investigations come as a timely reminder to people to exercise extreme caution — particularly on the many Total Fire Ban days in the region.

‘‘If people are camping in the area, they need to be aware of the higher risk of fire at this time,’’ Act Sen Sgt Higgins said.

‘‘Police will show zero tolerance to people who light fires without permits.

‘‘We will prosecute everyone who breaks the CFA Act, particularly on a Total Fire Ban Day.’’

Act Sen Sgt Higgins said people should remember Cobram and surrounding districts was in the Northern Country — not the North-East Country as commonly thought — when observing fire warnings.

The first fire, on Australia Day, burnt a small section of Crown land near Stewarts Bridge Rd at Lower Moira.

‘‘It did not burn a large area but there was the potential for the fire to take hold and get out of control and burn into the nearby surrounds,’’ Act Sen Sgt Higgins said.

The second fire burnt about 500 round hay bales in the early hours of Thursday.

Police have deemed the fire, on private property at Koonoomoo, suspicious and inquiries are pending.

Country Fire Authority District 22 operations officer Trevor Logan said five tankers from Cobram and surrounding districts responded to the call after 2am.

Mr Logan said crews continued to monitor the fire to ensure it did not escape containment lines.

Property owner Libro Mustica said the hay was worth more than $15000 and had been stacked in the paddock for about 18 months.

‘‘It was never insured because it is not my core business,’’ he said.

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