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Grassfires hit region

Firefighters yesterday tackled two grassfires within an hour of each other at Tamleugh North and Kialla.

KAITLIN THALS AND FIONA BROOM November 23, 2012 4:10am

Firefighters tackle a grassfire in Tamleugh yesterday which burnt 20 ha.


Firefighters yesterday spent time battling two grass fires that broke out within an hour of each other — one at Tamleugh North and one at Kialla.

CFA deputy group officer Ray Stockwell said the 20ha blaze in Tamleugh, north-east of Karramomous, sparked about 11.30am.

He said a paddock that was being slashed in preparation for the fire-season may have been the cause.

Windy and warm weather conditions caused the fire to spread quickly across Shepparton-Violet Town Rd towards neighbouring properties, Mr Stockwell said.

Five properties were at risk, including crops and stock, he said.

Firefighters declared the fire contained about 12.45pm.

Mr Stockwell said Greater Shepparton City Council provided an excavator to bulldoze a group of ignited trees.

‘‘They (CFA members) knew the day was bad and conditions were bad. They were lucky enough to pick up the fire just across the road and were able to stop the fire going onto two properties,’’ Mr Stockwell said.

Dale McCully’s property was in the firing line when the blaze spread across the main road and onto his 46.5ha (120acre) property.

Juggling fire-fighting equipment in one hand and his three-year-old son in the other, the safety of his child took priority.

The arrival of his neighbours ensured the fire was kept at bay with no risk of flames reaching his home.

‘‘The fire just started to creep up into the long grass when the tankers arrived,’’ Mr McCully said.

‘‘Our home is nearby and we have cattle and sheep, my neighbour and her son were there fighting it on my side of the fence.

‘‘We’re very grateful for them helping, the Kealeys and the Finlays. The CFA did a fantastic job to save everyone and the properties.’’

Mr Stockwell urged the community to be vigilant in maintaining farming equipment and choosing work days wisely.

‘‘Initially today (the weather) wasn’t too bad, but now it is. Make sure you check your equipment and have appropriate fire-fighting equipment with you when you’re working,’’ he said.

Twelve CFA tankers were called upon with members from Shepparton, Shepparton East, Karramomous, Riggs Creek, Dookie, Koonda, Cosgrove, Mipol, Caniambo and Earlston fighting the blaze.

Three CFA Field Command Vehicles and Shepparton Police also attended.

Police blocked Shepparton-Violet Town Rd at the intersections of Thorn Rd and Violet Town-Boundary Rd.

Meanwhile, police are investigating a fire believed to have been deliberately lit in bushland behind homes at Kialla yesterday afternoon.

The fire started in bush between houses in the bowl of Wyara Crt and businesses on Goulburn Valley Hwy about 12.30pm.

Eight Country Fire Authority trucks were called to the blaze, which took about two-and-a-half hours to extinguish.

The fire burnt about 1.5ha of grass and scrub.

Anyone with information is encouraged to phone Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit on 58205800 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800333000.

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