Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Firefighters spend New Year's Eve fighting Violet Town blaze

Water bombing helicopters and 21 CFA tankers were brought in to fight a serious fire that broke out at Long Gully Rd, just south of Violet Town, on New Year's Eve.

DARREN LINTON January 2, 2013 4:06am

The fire on Long Gully Rd near Violet Town on Monday burnt about 65ha.

New Year’s Eve celebrations were on hold for dozens of firefighters who spent the night mopping up a blaze in rugged terrain just south of Violet Town.

Two water bombing helicopters and 21 Country Fire Authority tankers and four-wheel drives with slip-on tanks were needed to stop the fire on a Long Gully Rd property from 2.40pm on Monday.

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The fire travelled across a steep ridge and one witness described it as fast, explosive and scary.

Violet Town CFA group officer Syd Jenkin said the fire burnt out 65ha before it was controlled after a three-hour battle.

‘‘It is difficult country, the choppers were our saviour particularly on the northern side of the fire,’’ he said.

‘‘It was an excellent stop, the guys all worked well because once it gets beyond where it was stopped it is thick, heavy country.’’

The thick dry grass provided plenty of fuel for the running fire and the steep terrain littered with granite rock made it difficult to access even with four-wheel drive tankers.

Mr Jenkin said several smaller four-wheel drive vehicles, including units from the nearby HVP plantation, played a significant role.

‘‘They turned up and said we’ll go wherever you want,’’ he said.

While most people were relaxing and celebrating the arrival of the new year six CFA units worked through the night making sure every ember was extinguished.

The work continued throughout the day yesterday, the volunteers sporting blackened faces from tramping across the charred ground to reach still-smouldering trees.

‘‘They are working on them now, they are pretty much on top of it,’’ he said.

A helicopter with an infrared camera made a final sweep of the area just to make sure there were no hot spots that might flare up.

Mr Jenkin said the volunteers were all looking forward to a delayed new year celebration.

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