A Timmering grass fire attracted 19 tankers and a water bombing helicopter to the area yesterday as firefighters sought to control the blaze.By Zach Hubber
Downed power lines are believed to be the cause of a large grass fire in Timmering late yesterday afternoon.
The fire was brought under control about 6.45pm when 19 tankers and a water bombing helicopter attended the blaze.
It is believed the fire started when strong winds caused a gum tree to fall down on Grey Rd, Timmering, which brought down power lines.
Units from Echuca, Echuca Village, Bamawm Extension, Tongala, Rochester, Stanhope, Girgarre and Corop were part of a joint effort to manage the fire 9.5km south-west of Tongala.
Police and SES were also at the site.
The fire was still burning when the Riv went to print last night and it is believed no structures were damaged.
It was the one blemish on what was an otherwise quiet weekend for fire brigades, despite three straight days of 40°C plus temperatures in the district.
But with the mercury predicted to hit 43°C today and 39°C tomorrow, fire authorities are imploring residents and campers to remain alert.
The warning coincides with the CFA and Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria’s launch of their new fire safety campaign, Fire Safety Starts With You, which airs across the state today.
Echuca Fire Brigade captain Mark Hooper said the campaign would continue helping residents’ awareness of fire safety, which he said was partly to thank for a quiet weekend for brigade volunteers.
‘‘I think whenever you get publicity about fires like you’ve had in Tasmania, Victoria or NSW, people are more aware and cautious of the dangers,’’ he said.
‘‘The new campaign will advise people not to expect a warning.
‘‘Don’t expect a fire truck to arrive, know your own area and know your own risks.’’
Mr Hooper implored residents and tourists to have a plan and be prepared for any scenario.
‘‘The chances of success are based on how prepared you are,’’ he said.
‘‘We can’t be everywhere doing everything for everyone, especially when it happens on extreme days.
‘‘The key element is for people to know there’s information available.
‘‘They need to listen to radio, check the CFA website, check Facebook or watch the news, so they know where the dangers are.’’
On extreme days like today, Mr Hooper warned residents to have back-up plans and not to act late.
‘‘If people don’t have a plan then they start doing things which are quite odd,’’ he said.
‘‘You see people in their thongs and shorts on the roof filling up their gutters with water, well that moment passed five hours ago.’’
Mr Hooper said campers in the district should also continue to enjoy the outdoors, but with a plan in place.
He said the scrub and grass conditions in the area were the worst they had been in 10 years and the risk of a fire would not fade until April.
‘‘(A fire) needs a lot less effort to get going this year than what it has in past years,’’ Mr Hooper said.
‘‘That’s why the message to people is to be more vigilant.’’
Anyone wanting information about fire safety can visit cfa.vic.gov.au
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