Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Lawnmowers spark grassfires

The Country Fire Authority is asking people to be vigilant when cutting grass after lawnmowers sparked two grassfires near Seymour.

JENNA BISHOP January 9, 2014 4:11am

A small grassfire north of Seymour started after a mower hit a rock and sent a spark into nearby dry grass, burning close to 17 ha

The Country Fire Authority is urging people to be vigilant when cutting dry grass after two separate grass fires burnt more than 30ha of paddocks across the region since last Thursday.

At 1pm on Thursday a grassfire north of Seymour started after a mower hit a rock, sending a spark into nearby stubble, burning an estimated 17ha from the intersection of the Goulburn Valley Hwy and Avenel Rd towards Granville Dve.

Eight CFA units, including five tankers, took just over 30 minutes to control the fire after a mower hit a rock and sent a spark into the dry stubble.

On Monday afternoon, a second fire burnt 10ha near Glenaroua after a ride on mower sparked a grass fire.

CFA District 12 operations officer John Smith said the fire was a warning for people to be cautious when mowing or slashing dry grass, especially in windy conditions.

‘‘If people are mowing, they should try and do it earlier in the morning when there still could be moisture in the ground from overnight dew,’’ he said.

Mr Smith advised people to consider operating with a second person equipped with water to act as a spotter behind the mower to watch for any sparks.

‘‘If it hits a rock and sparks and it smoulders in the grass, you could be 50m down the row you’re mowing before you notice it,’’ he said.

He said people should also have the appropriate firefighting equipment for the job being undertaken, including mowing grass.

The CFA is also encouraging people to check trailers before travelling after poor trailer maintenance sparked two grass fires on the Hume Fwy and the Lancefield-Tooborac Rd.

Mr Smith said a disintegrating brake drum on a trailer sparked the Hume Fwy fire, while a speedboat trailer that lost a wheel and then hit the road caused a fire near Tooborac.

‘‘They’re preventable fires because that’s just a lack of maintenance.’’

Mr Smith said strong winds such as those on Sunday would also hamper firefighting efforts.

‘‘If a fire does start, it will be difficult to contain it. We need to make sure everyone is vigilant about what they’re doing which could start a fire.’’

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