Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Headers in the frame after two crop fires

A header was damaged and about 24 ha of wheat crop destroyed in a fire at Stewarton last Tuesday night and the following day homeowners near Wahring were on alert during another crop fire in high winds.

December 26, 2012 5:15am

Crop fire in Stewarton on Tuesday evening, 16 tankers turned out.

At Stewarton, farm owner and header driver David Anker escaped injury after he unsuccessfully tried to extinguish the blaze that was started by the front of the four-year-old header.

In a bid to minimise damage to the machinery, Mr Anker disengaged the front and moved the header out of further danger.

He estimated the machinery damage was about $90000 and crop damage about $32000.

Mr Anker praised the efforts of the CFA volunteers who saved a large portion of his remaining crop.

The day after the fire, friends moved in with two headers and started work on harvesting his crop and in the evening two more arrived to finish the job by 11pm that day.

‘‘It was really good. I’m very lucky to have such good neighbours,’’ Mr Anker said.

He was also grateful that no-one was hurt and the fire was largely confined to his own property on Benalla Boundary Rd.

An excavator was used to knock down burning trees to ensure embers were extinguished.

A total of 16 tankers were called to control the fire.

On Wednesday, with a Total Fire Ban in the Northern Country, a fire that was believed to have been started by a mechanical fault in a header burnt out crop, fencing and trees at Wahring, north of Nagambie.

CFA District 22 operations officer Peter Brereton said crews were still working on underground fires at the site last Friday.

‘‘We brought in an infra-red scanner on Thursday to locate the underground fires; crews are digging out then putting out the deep-seated fires along the creek line,’’ Mr Brereton said.

‘‘We’ll have crews out there monitoring over the weekend in the predicted hot weather.’’

About 50ha of wheat was destroyed in the Wahring blaze, which took 20 tankers and two fire bombing helicopters to bring it under control.

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