Ute sparks fire in Tatura

A ute sparked a fire on a Tatura property last week, prompting a warning from CFA.

KAITLIN THALS January 16, 2013 11:05am

Ten tankers attended a fire near Tatura last Tuesday

Fire broke out on a Tatura district property Tuesday night when the farmer’s ute caught fire while gusty south-westerly winds were blowing.

Country Fire Authority Rodney group officer Phil Slender said CFA was notified of the blaze on the corner of Pogue and Bayunga Rds south of Tatura about 6.45pm.

A cattle farmer had turned around and noticed his utility had ‘‘flared up’’ in the middle of a paddock.

Mr Slender said when they arrived on the scene strong winds had forced the fire to spread across 20ha, and they called on 10 tankers for assistance.

Smoke smothered the area as the sun set in the distance, making visibility difficult.

Mr Slender said the farmer’s vehicle was completely burned out, yet firefighters managed to stop the blaze spreading to a nearby paddock containing about 100 head of cattle.

CFA crews contained the fire in about one hour, managing to block it off at the channel, protecting surrounding properties, homes and livestock.

CFA personnel spent about three hours blacking out the area to ensure all embers were extinguished.

‘‘The weather conditions made it (the fire) flare up and it travelled fairly fast, lucky we stopped it at the channel otherwise it might have gotten away and across the road,’’ Mr Slender said.

‘‘The terrain is long and very rough, it’s been pretty hard on us trying to hang on. There are a few tufts of grass out there and there’s still so much heat in them.

‘‘Everyone just needs to be careful.’’

Mooroopna and Tatura police blocked traffic at Bayunga and Pogue Rds and Murton and Pogue Rds for about four hours.

No place for crowd

Tuesday’s fire attracted an unwanted crowd, with about 200 people in cars, on bicycles or on foot gathering at the fire scene, prompting a warning from CFA District 22 operations officer Trevor Logan.

Mr Logan said on Wednesday, the fire was putting off a lot of smoke and ‘‘everybody came for a look’’.

‘‘When we’re trying to get 20 trucks down a street to get into a fire, we don’t want the public there,’’ he said.

Mr Logan said unauthorised people should never attend fires.

‘‘It does hinder our ability to hit the fire quick and hard if we have traffic and pedestrian problems,’’ he said.

‘‘If we have a wind change, it puts the public in danger that they may actually be involved in the smoke or fire.’’

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