Fires arouse suspicion in Cobram

February 22, 2017

Eerie sight: Smoke rises among the gum trees along the levee bank as firefighters work to extinguish the fire.

Dousing the ground: Firefighters ensure there's no embers left burning, watched by a group of onlookers.

Firefighters worked quickly to extinguish two separate blazes lit near residential areas in Cobram on Friday night, which are believed to be suspicious.

Two fires were lit within half an hour of each other, one near Sturt St and another in grassland near the levee bank near the intersection of Churr and Lirrk Sts.

Cobram Fire Brigade second lieutenant Dave Beard confirmed both fires were being treated as suspicious.

He said the brigade was called to the Sturt St fire about 7.15pm, which was burning in open grassland on the other side of a fence at the end of the street.

It took about 10 to 15 minutes to control that fire, before the brigade was called to a second small fire at the levee bank about 7.40pm.

It took volunteers about 10 minutes to bring that fire under control, and about 25 minutes in total to ensure it was completely extinguished.

Witnesses said they could see flames rising about half a metre above the levee bank, with the fire burning in dead leaf litter close to the walking track near the top of the bank.

‘‘They were both relatively small fires, but they had the potential to develop into something much bigger,’’ Mr Beard said.

‘‘They were quite close to residential areas and they had the potential to put people and homes in danger.’’

Mr Beard also warned onlookers to steer well clear of a fire and allow firefighters to do their job.

‘‘There were a few times we had to ask people to move back,’’ he said.

‘‘We need people to stay right back, so they’re not in danger and we can focus on the fire.’’

Mr Beard also reminded people that the weather did not have to be hot for a fire to spark.

‘‘Even on colder days, fires can be dangerous and there is the possibility for it to spread quickly,’’ he said.

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