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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Grassfires keep district brigades busy

District residents are being warned to check conditions before lighting up.

MONIQUE PRESTON November 16, 2012 4:55am

A grass fire on Lake Rd, Wharparilla, on Wednesday threatened a house and a crop on the property next door.


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The CFA is urging people to think before burning off, after district firefighters were called to extinguish three separate burn-offs which burned out of control on Wednesday.

Grass fires in Wharparilla, Tennyson and Cohuna kept firefighters busy throughout the day.

Bamawm Extension Fire Brigade captain George Calleja said while many people were trying to get in before fire restrictions started in Campaspe Shire on November 26, they still needed to check conditions before burning off.

‘‘People have got to be careful,’’ he said.

‘‘It has really dried off.

‘‘Make sure you’ve got proper equipment and a proper fire break and make sure the weather conditions are right.

‘‘Don’t just put a match to things.’’

CFA Campaspe catchment operations officer John Cutting also said it was important the community was aware of fire restrictions early to help residents prepare.

Mr Cutting said in the lead-up to restrictions, the CFA wanted to avoid being called out to escaped burns from residents who tried to burn off but did not read the conditions correctly.

He also said residents should abide by council by-laws.

The first of Wednesday’s call-outs was a grass fire in Lake Rd, Wharparilla, just before 1pm.

While it burnt 10 to 12 hectares of grass, Mr Calleja said the fire could have had far more disastrous consequences, with firefighters stopping it before it reached a canola crop.

‘‘We stopped it at the fence line from going into the canola crop.

‘‘Echuca (brigade) had a good save there.

‘‘If it had of got into the canola we would still be there.’’

The fire started on one property, before heading north onto the property next door, burning the grass area close to a house, before heading towards the crop.

It took 19 firefighters from Bamawm Extension, Echuca and Torrumbarry brigades about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control.

Firefighters remained on scene for another three hours..

While that fire was still burning, another out of control burn-off, this time at Tennyson, saw firefighters from Tennyson and Lockington fire brigades called on for help.

Firefighters were called to the fire at a Rochester-Prairie Rd property, ironically near the fire station at 1.40pm.

Tennyson Fire Brigade captain Thomas Harry said it had started with a farmer burning off a paddock so he could put a crop in, but had become out of control, burning about five hectares of grass and trees.

While it took about an hour to control the fire, it was not deemed safe until 4pm when firefighters left.

A burn-off in Kennedy’s Rd, Cohuna, later Wednesday afternoon also saw firefighters needed to extinguish it.

The Cohuna Fire Brigade was called about 5.40pm, and had the fire under control just before 6.10pm.

It burnt about 0.2 hectares of grass and trees.

For a full list of fire restrictions, visit the CFA website www.cfa.vic.gov.au/

Fire restrictions began in Murray Shire on October 1.

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