Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Stubble fire in Toolamba

Firefighters fought a blaze for more than an hour at Toolamba yesterday afternoon as strong winds pushed the flames across paddocks.

CHLOE WARBURTON March 22, 2014 5:14am

Blaze battle: Lightning is believed to have started a stubble fire at Toolamba yesterday that took Country Fire Authority crews about an hour to control.

The stubble fire began about 4pm and a Country Fire Authority spokesperson said it was believed to have started from a lightning strike — the cause of several fires across Victoria yesterday.

The fire started at the southern end of Rutherford Rd, near the Goulburn River, and jumped a railway line before burning across a paddock.

Ten Country Fire Authority tankers battled to control the fire initially, with 20 tankers eventually extinguishing the blaze.

Aircraft were dispatched, but were turned back when firefighters managed to control the fire.

About 100ha were burnt.

The CFA spokesperson said the conditions were dangerous and praised the firefighters for their efforts.

‘‘It escalated quickly because of the wind and the dryness of the paddock — under these conditions, it has the potential to burn very fast,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘They’ll be there quite a while tonight to make sure it’s really been blacked out and the smoke will hang around for a while.

‘‘It’s a very dynamic combination when you put together the dryness of the paddocks and the strong winds. It’s a significant effort for a Friday afternoon and it’s a credit to all of our firefighters involved.’’

The spokesperson said it was one of dozens of fires yesterday from western Victoria down to Gippsland suspected to have started from lightning strikes.

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