Temperatures and wind speeds predicted for today are concerning local firefighters, who are epxected to be on full alert.By Tyla Harrington
It was a busy weekend for Deniliquin Fire and Rescue, but thankfully there were no grass or bush fires to battle.
However, both local fire organisations say today will be the test, with temperatures expected to reach 40°C with forecasted wind speeds of 37km/h.
Deni NSW Fire and Rescue station commander Captain Bill Muirhead said if weather conditions deteriorate, a team of firefighters would be placed on standby at the Deniliquin airport training base.
This will consist of four to six appliances, with four people dedicated to each vehicle.
In the meantime, he said the local area had been ‘‘lucky’’ to escape serious fires so far.
‘‘It could’ve been a lot worse (over the weekend) .
‘‘In saying that people still need to be vigilant today; it’s expected to be fairly severe weather.’’
Today is a total fire ban day and Capt Muirhead says no fires are to be lit in the Southern Riverina.
‘‘People have to be very, very careful, and if they do see any smoke, don’t hesitate to ring triple zero. Minutes can make a difference,’’ he urged.
While the Rural Fire Service (RFS) had been ‘‘quiet’’ around the Deniliquin area, members were preparing for the worst yesterday.
RFS Mid-Murray Zone Superintendent Lindsay Lashbrook said an incident management team would be on hand.
A pre-declared emergency was announced at 2pm yesterday afternoon.
‘‘It will be pretty bad, but we’re prepared,’’ Supt Lashbrook said.
On Friday, Deni Fire and Rescue was called to units in Edwardes St after an electrical switchboard caught on fire.
The switchboard, which was engulfed in flames, caused the ceiling of one unit to also catch on fire.
‘‘The switchboard was completely destroyed,’’ Capt Muirhead said.
‘‘It started to get into the ceiling area of the first unit.
‘‘The unit had minor damage, including a smashed window.’’
A positive pressure fan was used to ventilate the unit.
Capt Muirhead said the cause has not been determined, but ‘‘power failure’’ was a possibility.
‘‘It was not deliberately lit,’’ he said.
Two appliances and 13 firefighters were required at the scene. It took 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
Police also attended as a precaution.
On Sunday afternoon, Deni Fire and Rescue was called to assist Moama with a building fire.
Capt Muirhead said despite sending four firefighters to the scene, there were still 10 located in Deniliquin to ‘‘protect the town’’.
‘‘We only ever send four out (of town),’’ he said.
‘‘The fire wasn’t that serious so they were sent back before they reached Moama.’’
Later that evening, the Deniliquin station also assisted Ambulance services after an elderly person had to be moved after suffering injuries in Russell St, Deniliquin.
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The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
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