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Fast fires on south wind
At 5.27 pm on Sunday 6 January a tree falling on powerlines led to the standard grass and scrub Code 1 response for District 20: Timmering, Rochester and Tongala were paged along with the Kyabram FCV.
An advice message was sent out for residents of Echuca Village, Koyuga, Nanneella, Simmie, Strathallan, Timmering, Tongala East, Echuca, Kanyapella South and Tongala.
John Cutting is the operations officer for the District 20 Campaspe catchment. “The Incident Controller was Dave Wright, the captain of Tongala,” says John. “He made an early call and a good call for 15 tankers.
“What we’re finding in this part of the world is that we don’t so much have the fires on the terrible days but fast running fires on the south wind. This one was the same. It was very long and narrow – about two kilometres long and up to 200 metres wide in parts – and burning in a northerly direction.
“It burnt in grassland but there was also a stand of old trees, some of them one metre in diameter, that caused us some issues. We still have crews on scene now with DSE to make sure that the area is safe with another day of 40-plus. We’re down to four tankers and there will be ultralights patrolling this afternoon.
“Part of our arrangements here is that CFA and DSE assist each other with their expertise. It doesn’t matter if it’s private or public. We have a very good working relationship.”
A shire grader graded all the way around the 20 hectare fire with a shire excavator also assisting by pushing over some trees.
Thanks to Dave Wright and Matthew Burt for photos