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Lightning strikes cause Seymour fires

Lightning storms during last week's extreme temperatures sparked several fires near Seymour, with the CFA advising residents to be extra cautious around dry grass.

JENNA BISHOP January 21, 2014 2:47pm

Lightning strikes caused by last week’s extreme temperatures were responsible for sparking several fires across the region.

Firefighters from across the district fought at least six fires from Wednesday to Friday.

Country Fire Authority District 12 operations manager Peter Creak said the high temperatures were certainly a factor in several of the region’s blazes.

‘‘Temperatures were hot, but we were fortunate that we didn’t have high winds on some of those hotter days, so we were able to contain fires quickly,’’ he said.

On Wednesday, a fire near Glenaroua on Bridle and Daisyburn Rds was contained quickly by 12 CFA appliances.

Mr Creak said on Thursday a small fire was sparked by lightning overnight at Tooborac, while a second blaze near Whiteheads Creek on Falls Lane and Kobyboyn Rd was contained to a reasonably small size.

Lightning caused a second fire near Whiteheads Creek on Bluetop Rd on Thursday.

Mr Creek said a small fire started on Friday in difficult territory near Waggs Range, however, with the help of two waterbombing helicopters, it was quickly brought under control and burned less than 100sqm.

‘‘These days, the key is to get as many crews to help, including waterbombers, and we’ve been sending as many appliances as we can get, especially if the fire is in a difficult area and ground crews can’t easily reach it,’’ he said.

Mr Creak said a six-vehicle strike team was sent from Seymour to help contain a blaze on Friday at Craigieburn, which shut down V/Line rail services from Southern Cross Station to Seymour.

A crew was also sent to the Big River area near Gippsland to assist with controlling a bushfire.

Mr Creak paid tribute to the crews who worked in hot, demanding conditions during the heatwave.

‘‘Our brigade was so well prepared and we were able to get out of the door quickly and get to the scene to control the fires quickly.’’

Mr Creak said although the fuel load was dry before, it would be even drier now after last week’s heat.

‘‘People need to be prepared and extremely careful and extremely vigilant,’’ he said.

He said people should be taking extra precautions when using machinery and appliances, including lawn mowers, angle grinders and tractors, especially if it’s windy or hot.

A wheel falling off a poorly maintained trailer also sparked several roadside fires.

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