Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Two suspicious fires ignite near Euroa

CFA investigators are examining the possibility of arson as the cause of two fires that broke out near Euroa yesterday.

KAITLIN THALS February 19, 2013 4:14am

A helicopter drops water on one of the fires near Euroa yesterday.

Arson is being investigated as a potential cause of two fires within 3km of each other near Euroa yesterday.

Country Fire Authority District 22 duty officer Trevor Logan yesterday said CFA investigators were on scene to establish how the fires sparked.

Mr Logan said CFA was notified of a smoke sighting by Mt Wombat fire tower personnel about 1.40pm.

He said one of the fires, which was less than 1ha, ignited on Euroa-Mansfield Rd, near Killeens Hill Rd, Gooram.

He said a second fire — about 3km away — also sparked on Euroa-Mansfield Rd, near Longwood-Mansfield Rd, and was about 20ha.

Mr Logan said both fires were in hilly scrub and tree-dense areas.

He said the small fire was controlled within about 15 minutes and tankers moved to help put out the second fire.

A helicopter water-bomber and 12 tankers with about 50 CFA members from across the region worked to contain the blaze near Longwood-Mansfield Rd.

Earthmoving equipment arrived once the fire was controlled to bulldoze fire-affected trees to stop them from falling on to Euroa-Mansfield Rd.

Euroa police set up road blocks — these would stay in place until fire investigators concluded their work.

Mr Logan said firefighters would be patrolling the area for about two hours after the fire was contained.

He said no structures or stock were at risk during the fires.

Sheep and cattle farmer Neil Broughton was watching the fire near Longwood-Mansfield Rd, as it was close to his 161ha property.

‘‘It’s rough country up there,’’ he said as he watched firefighters contain the blaze.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr Broughton arrived home from Ruffy and saw a vehicle performing a U-turn near his property.

‘‘He said, ‘You better be careful, there’s a fire up the road,’’’ Mr Broughton said.

Mr Broughton’s son Geoff is a Department of Sustainability and Environment fire lookout observer at Mt Wombat and this is his 20th season on the job.

Mr Broughton remembers the 1990 fires which swept through his property — and 5665ha.

He said he lost sheep and injured himself during that time.

‘‘I really felt for those who lost their homes and personal possessions, you can’t replace them,’’ he said.

‘‘All fires worry you, but I think they’ve got this one under control.’’

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