Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fire brigade welcomes in new year

Rochester Fire Brigade members were glad to welcome in 2014 without incident, after the day was declared a day of total fire ban.

RENEE THOMPSON January 7, 2014 4:01am


Rochester Fire Brigade welcomed a day without incident on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day was a day of high alert for CFA crews with a total fire ban in force across most of Victoria.

Rochester Fire Brigade captain Michael Hassell said there were no fires on New Year’s Day.

“We did our usual pre-preparation with crews but other than that there were no call outs,” he said.

“We’ve had a quiet run and we’re pleased with it.”

Detective Sergeant Brendan Murphy of Echuca CIU said that on days of total fire ban police across Victoria put Operation Firesetter into action, conducting highly visible patrols to prevent and apprehend arsonists.

“We are mindful of individuals predisposed to fires in this type of weather,” he said.

“We do look at previous fires and endeavour to monitor people who were responsible for lighting fires.

“We’re very vulnerable at this time of year, with high fuel loads around.”

He said there had been an increase of fires in the district lately.

“It’s not only on these high risk days. We’ve been investigating an increase of fires of late, some directly accidental, others we have a lot of suspicion about,” he said.

“The last thing we want is a spate of fires similar to the ones in Rochester in 2009.”

He said people should contact police if they saw something unusual.

“We want people to be more aware of anything suspicious they might see at this time of year – make a mental note and get back to us,” he said.

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