The slashing of grass along the railway line near Anderson Rd has not gone ahead in time for fire season this year, despite it being a known fire hazard.KATHLEEN TONINI January 4, 2013 4:23am
Grass along the railway line near Anderson Rd, which a local firefighter says is longer than when a devastating grassfire broke out in February, has been dismissed by V/Line as a low priority.
The February 23 fire (inset) burnt about 130 hectares.
It threatened houses and drew on the services of close to 80 firefighters.
The fire was believed to be sparked by a freight train passing through the area.
Echuca Village firefighter Brian Quinn, who was Echuca Village fire brigade captain at the time of the fire, feared what would happen if the grass was to ignite again.
‘‘If a train came along there and threw a spark we’d be in a far worse situation,’’ he said.
Temperatures are set to be in the high 30s and low 40s until Wednesday, prompting state-wide CFA warnings.
Mr Quinn said if a fire did break out again in the area, it would be more likely to threaten residential areas because of the increased fuel load.
‘‘I think anything we would throw at it locally would be insignificant to what mother nature would throw at us.’’
Mr Quinn said there had been no fuel reduction burn prior to summer as there had been before last season.
‘‘If you were going to do something it should have been done about in October, it’s too dangerous to do it now.’’
A V/Line spokesperson yesterday said the area could not be sprayed and slashed as it was within a ‘‘sensitive environmental area’’ but could be burnt off at the right time of year.
‘‘Working with the CFA and DSE we may be able to conduct a fuel burn, however following the fire last year it has been assessed this area is not a high priority,’’ the V/Line spokesperson said.
Mr Quinn believed whoever maintained the land around railway lines and those who maintained the trains themselves were both responsible when it came to fire risk.
‘‘It should be a combined responsibility when it comes to fire hazards,’’ he said.
Campaspe CFA operations officer John Cutting said he was aware the grass had grown back, but was concerned about grassfire risk across the whole shire.
‘‘That is one part of the shire where there is grassfire risk but there are others,’’ he said.
He said fuel reduction and burning off had been planned for autumn but nothing had been done prior to this summer.
Mr Cutting echoed Mr Quinn by saying it was not as simple as long, dry grass presenting a fire hazard.
‘‘It’s not just eliminating the fuel, it’s eliminating the risk of it starting,’’ he said.
He believed some maintenance of trains had occurred since last year’s fire.
P&O TransAustralia, who had a train in the area at the time of last year’s fire, did not respond to the Riverine Herald’s request for information about its internal investigation.
Rich River's Ben Docking capitalised on local knowledge to take out the Goulburn Valley District Golf champion of champions event at his home course.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Timbercutter Doug Rosenow is hoping people will listen before it is too late.
Goulburn-Murray Water has been filling in the decommissioned irrigation channel by the Northern Hwy, just out of Rochester.
Fraser sure has aces in spades
It was a triumphant homecoming for God's Own gelding.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Fiona Bradshaw and the Planet X team have raised more than $5000.
2013/14 Annual Report received this week finds overall finances are ‘‘fair and improving’’ at Moira Shire Council.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Up to14 new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton, with the company set to embark on an $18million expansion at its factory.
Member for Benalla Bill Sykes delivers his valedictory speech to the State parliament: I love youse all.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.