Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fire sparks warning

A large grassfire south of Kyabram has prompted warnings about operating machinery on high fire danger days.

February 13, 2013 4:48am

A waterbombing helicopter was called in to battle the grassfire.


A large grass fire at Kyabram South believed to have been started by farm machinery has prompted a reminder about the dangers of operating machinery on windy days.

Over 100 Country Fire Authority volunteers in 20 tankers were called to the fire just after 2pm Sunday to put out a blaze which swept through 40ha of grassland.

A waterbombing plane and a waterbombing helicopter were also called in.

Crews stopped the greater part of the blaze at Fenaughty Rd, however a section east of the main fire jumped the road and burnt two more paddocks.

Operations officer Tony Owen said even though it was not a hot day, the fire danger was still high.

‘‘We’re pleading with people to take care and use commonsense,’’ he said.

‘‘Just because it’s a cool day doesn’t make the grass any less dry.’’

Mr Owen said a few old, small sheds were destroyed, but other property was protected, including a house that was under threat.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said a 30-year-old man was taken to Goulburn Valley Base Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

He said a 20-year-old woman was also affected by smoke, but she was treated at the scene.

Meanwhile, district CFA brigades were called out to three structure fires in three days.

Kyabram CFA was called to a Lynton Cres, Kyabram, home about 8pm last Thursday where a cigarette was the cause of a fire which was extinguished before it spread from a mattress and linen.

On Friday night at about 10pm a neighbour alerted emergency services to a fire which had taken hold of a Wyuna East house.

Fire had taken hold of a laundry and back section of a Trevaskis Rd home by the time firefighters arrived.

It took five units from Wyuna, Kyabram, Merrigum, Undera and Tongala about 20 minutes to contain.

No-one was home at the time.

Kyabram CFA captain Mick Crompton said investigations were continuing into the cause of the fire which caused ‘‘significant’’ structural damage to the house.

About the same time, the CFA was called to an electrical explosion at a Pettifer St house. No damage was reported.

And a fire at Kyvalley about noon on Sunday burnt a small pile of clothing in the laundry of a Sinclair Rd home.

Two fire units from Tongala CFA and one from Kyabram were on scene quickly and extinguished the fire before it spread.

The cause of the fire is unknown but is under investigation.

In a separate incident, a Kyabram man faces a hefty fine for allegedly lighting a fire during Saturday’s total fire ban.

Stanhope police and Rushworth CFA personnel were called to a fire on vacant land at Waranga Shores overlooking Waranga Basin about 9.15pm on Saturday.

Firefighters put out a small campfire.

A member of the public concerned that a campfire had been lit on a day of total fire ban called the CFA.

Leading Senior Constable Bob Naismith said the 34-year-old man told police he had been unaware of the fire ban in place.

He will appear before Echuca Magistrate’s Court at a later date.

The incident has prompted a reminder from police about the dangers of lighting fires during a total fire ban period, and that anyone caught doing it will be investigated and fines or harsher penalties may apply.

Under the CFA Act, people can receive up to a $5500 fine and/or two years imprisonment for lighting a fire on a day of total fire ban. Penalties are similar under the Forest Act.

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