Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Firefighters prevent blaze spread

Goulburn Valley firefighters controlled a grassfire within 20 minutes yesterday, preventing it from spreading to nearby grassland.

KAITLIN THALS November 21, 2012 4:10am

Firefighters from Shepparton, Shepparton East, Mooroopna and Tallygaroopna attended the fire near the Broadcast Australia site.

Country Fire Authority members controlled a grassfire within 20 minutes at the Broadcast Australia site north of Shepparton yesterday, preventing it reaching nearby grassland.

CFA Shepparton leading firefighter Scott Shenfield said the 1.5ha grassfire on Verney Rd, near Grace Rd, was not suspicious.

Mr Shenfield said firefighters were investigating the cause of the fire, which could have been started by a ‘‘possible fault’’ in a transmitter wire at the location.

There are six 100kw transmitters at the 240ha Broadcast Australia site, almost directly across the road from Goulburn Valley Grammar School.

Originally built to send morale-boosting programs to Allied fighting forces during World War II, Broadcast Australia’s Shepparton site is now the mainstay for transmitting Radio Australia shortwave broadcasts throughout South-East Asia and the South Pacific.

Mr Shenfield said Broadcast Australia notified CFA about 10.05am and immediately turned off power at the site.

He said firefighters from Shepparton, Shepparton East, Mooroopna and Tallygaroopna had the fire under control within 20 minutes and spent about one hour completing a blackout.

‘‘Our only other risk was if the fire spread into the grassland nearby, this is a high fuel area,’’ he said.

‘‘It was imperative to control the fire and ensure the blackout is done in these windy, hot conditions, with winds increasing this afternoon.’’

Traffic travelling north on Verney Rd was detoured at Grace Rd. There was a roadblock at Verney Rd and Goulburn Valley Hwy for about an hour. Shepparton police and Shepparton Highway Patrol also attended the scene.

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