baler-fire-highlights-risk-on-danger-daysLocal brigades called in the Helitack339 chopper to support their efforts with a grass and hay fire at Berrys Creek last Wednesday. m260215

IT WASN’T a total fire ban day last Wednesday, December 7, but with temperatures soaring towards 40°C and a northerly wind blowing, there was certainly the potential for fire.
And, as if underscoring the warning about using agricultural machinery on such days, a grass and hay fire sprang up at Berrys Creek, started by a hay baler fault.
The baler was lost in the fire, six acres of grass was burnt and 40 freshly rolled bales but at no stage, according to the Captain of the Berrys Creek CFA Brigade, Dannielle O’Loughlin, was there any threat that the fire would spread.
“It was hot and windy but the fire was moving fairly slowly. Mick (O’Loughlin) called in the helicopter for support but it was really as a precaution. We didn’t want it to get over the drain and up towards the hill.”
Captain O’Loughlin said upwards of eight brigades attended in support of Berrys Creek including Allambee, Dumbalk, Koonwarra, Leongatha, Leongatha South, Mirboo North, Nerrena and Ruby, and they did a good job of dousing the grass fire and breaking up the bales to stop re-ignition.
“We stayed out there until about 8.30pm but the rain came along soon after and there was no further trouble.”
After a burst of fires across Victoria last week, including a worrying fire at Hastings, Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig Lapsley, said the rain of last week had simply set the fire danger period back a few weeks, to the end of January or early February.
The community and emergency services needed to remain vigilant, he said.