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Grassfire jumps road, blocks traffic and burns railway line sleepers

It took firefighters more than three hours to put out a fire on the Northern Hwy between Rochester and Elmore on Friday, which led to long traffic delays or motorists.

ELAINE COONEY February 5, 2013 4:23am

Firefighters at work making the area safe.


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A grassfire between Rochester and Elmore on Friday night blocked traffic on the Northern Hwy for almost an hour.

A train was also stopped while burned sleepers on the railway line were replaced.

Rochester Fire Brigade volunteer Vaughn Thomas said the fire began on Clarke Rd, jumped the road, travelled across the railway easement and continued to cross the highway.

Mr Thomas described the wind conditions as ‘‘horrendous’’ and said if it was not for the paddock of green lucerne and the swift action by brigade members, it had the potential to get out of control.

‘‘If it was a dry paddock, it could have gone anywhere,’’ he said.

He said when the fire brigade first arrived the weather was calm, but the wind quickly picked up, leaving motorists on the highway between 5.10pm and 6pm with low visibility.

The police were called to close the road from both sides and the DSE was called in to lop trees.

It took eight tankers 45 minutes to extinguish the fire and four hours to black out the area, Mr Thomas said.

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