THE delayed removal of fire restrictions in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires on Tuesday, May 1 last week prompted a flurry of activity.
Dozens, possibly hundreds of farmers and rural landowners, who’d put off lighting their annual clean-up bonfires, got on with the job.
The result was billowing palls of smoke rising from properties right across the region, mixing in with the smoke from planned or prescribed burns by government and local government agencies.
All went pretty much to plan with a couple of notable exceptions where local CFA brigades were called to attend bushfires and grass fires started from burn-offs.
The CFA remained on alert about the potential for more of these burn-offs to escape as a result of the change in weather conditions predicted for Thursday, Friday and after the weekend.
One of the most concerning escaped burn-offs took place in bushland near the South Gippsland Highway at Nyora, last Wednesday, May 4, little more than 600 metres east of the Bass Gas Facility.
Which is probably the reason why the CFA called in response units from upwards of seven fire brigades including Lang Lang, Dalyston, Leongatha, Kernot/Grantville, Poowong, Loch and Kongwak, with the likes of Pound Creek and Ruby joining others the day after to continue pouring water on trees and ground areas affected by the blaze.
Apologies to those not mentioned.
First Lieutenant of the Loch CFA, Len Wyhoon, was on the scene directing the response at Nyora.
He said it appeared the fire had started from a burn-off which got out of control and expanded into surrounding bush, burning approximately 10 hectares.
“We had a lot of crews in there (on Wednesday) and we’ve had people back there today (Thursday) with chainsaws and hoses again making the area safe.”
He said the call came in at 2.15pm on Wednesday but crews stayed overnight and were still cleaning up well into the day on Thursday.
In fact, two people were injured at the site while cutting down fire-damaged trees, prompting a visit by WorkSafe Victoria.
They accessed the fire down a private track off the South Gippsland Highway located about 500 metres east of Hookers Road (near the Lang Lang Golf Course).
There was also a grass fire at Poowong East at the same time last Wednesday, closing the main Drouin-Korumburra Road to traffic for a time due to smoke drift, prompting an alert to nearby residents.
The blaze was located between Houlahans Road and Stabens Road, near Richards Road. The Little Bass Reservoir is also located nearby.
Koonwarra CFA also responded to a prescribed burn at Koonwarra, in the Koonwarra Bush Reserve, but they had already been advised that the activity was being initiated as a seasonal safety measure.
Green light for burn-offs, red flag for fire fighters