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Another haystack fire
Last Wednesday 25 November at 5.22am, Thoona and Boweya brigades were called to their second haystack fire in a week.
The previous Friday, the same brigades attended another haystack fire at Bungeet.
Although the first fire at Bungeet was easily contained, both fire trucks remained on scene overnight to ensure the fire could not escape containment lines while it burnt itsself out overnight. However, the Wednesday morning fire at Cleary Road, Thoona, was far more serious.
The haystack was completely engulfed in fire when the Thoona truck arrived on scene, and there was a wheat crop ready to be harvested surrounding the hay shed.
The predicted high temperatures, extremely strong, gusty winds and a Total Fire Ban already declared, meant a rapid response was required to avoid the fire expanding into the wheat crop before the weather conditions deteriorated.
Six additional CFA fire trucks from Almonds, Devenish, Goorambat, Killawarra, Taminick and South Wangaratta and an excavator were dispatched to the fire. The intent was to have the excavator progressively remove all the hay bales from the hay shed and allow them to burn themselves out inside containment lines.
Fire trucks positioned themselves around fire breaks ready to extinguish any fires started from embers carried on the strengthening winds.
Local farmers assisted by creating the earth fire breaks around both the haystack fire and the threatened wheat crop. After the excavator had completely separated the hay bales and they had all burnt, eight CFA trucks completely extinguished the fire to make the area safe.
It took 13 hours to totally extinguish all the hay.