CFA warns fires still posing a threat

April 19, 2017

Aftermath: Firefighters survey the scene after the Maidment Rd fire.

Blaze: The fire created a lot of smoke.

Air support: A Helitak aerial water bomber was called in to help fight the blaze.

Firefighting resources of all shapes and sizes were called in to action last Tuesday to battle a grassfire just north of Cobram, burning towards the Murray River.

The fire burned an estimated 24ha, with 21 units called in to fight the blaze, which was brought under control in about an hour.

An alert was issued to the community informing them of the fire, saying firefighters would remain on scene for several hours blacking out.

Cobram Fire Brigade captain Adrian Hilder said firefighters were called to the blaze at a Maidment Rd property at 3.11pm, which was believed to be a tractor fire.

‘‘Once we got there, we discovered it wasn’t a tractor fire but a grassfire believed to have been started by slashing, which was burning quite well,’’ Mr Hilder said.

‘‘We called in a number of resources; we had 15 tankers, and we called in air support as well, with aerial support coming from the Helitak 347 from Mangalore Airport.

‘‘The fire had extended onto another property and jumped Botts Rd.

‘‘We had a number of specialist vehicles called in, including the District 22 rehab unit from Mooroopna, which allows firefighters to take a break and check their health, and a command vehicle from Wunghnu which helped at the forward control area which had been set up.’’

Mr Hilder said people needed to be aware that cooler weather did not mean there wasn’t any danger from a fire.

‘‘It’s showed that the recent rain hasn’t had much impact, and the growth is still dry underneath.’’

He said there was a slight breeze which had affected the fire, but an important thing for people to remember was that grassfires could create their own breeze when burning.

Mr Hilder said the fire also served as a timely reminder for farmers to ensure they had appropriate equipment if they were burning-off.

‘‘It’s up to the landowner to ensure they have fully capable extinguishers, etc,’’ he said.

‘‘If a fire does change, charges can apply if you don’t have the right firefighting equipment, especially if it gets out of control or onto a neighbouring property.’’

The Fire Danger Period officially ended in Moira Shire yesterday (April 18), but CFA Hume regional commander Stewart Kreltszheim urged people to do the right thing by checking conditions and registering their burn-offs.

‘‘Every year our brigades get more and more frustrated at the number of false alarm calls they have to respond to as a result of people not doing the right thing,’’ Mr Kreltszheim said.

‘‘Calls to unregistered burn-offs take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and potentially genuine emergencies.

‘‘So if you haven’t registered your burn you can expect some disgruntled fireys arriving at your property asking you to please explain.’’

●Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority by phoning 1800668511 or emailing [email protected]

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