Fires start despite rain

A firefighter works to control a grass fire at Irrewarra yesterday. Three CFA units attended the fire on a Princes Highway property.

FIREFIGHTERS have warned Colac and district residents to be aware of fire risks despite the weekend’s rain, after two grass fires yesterday.

Fire crews from Colac and Irrewarra took about 30 minutes to control a grass fire at a property on the Princes Highway, Irrewarra.

The property’s owner John Williams said he was on a ride-on mower when the fire started.

“I must’ve hit a rock or stone and it sparked the flames,” Mr Williams said.

“I just rang 000. I tipped water on it and slowed it down,” he said.

Irrewarra Fire Brigade’s Lieutenant Dale Nowell said the fire was burning “reasonably fast” when he arrived at the scene.

“It was brought under control pretty quick due to favourable weather conditions,” Lt Nowell said.

“We believe that a gentleman was mowing the grass and when he turned around, there was a fire behind him,” he said.

“It just shows how easy it can happen.”

Lt Nowell said people needed to be aware of fire dangers, with weather conditions expected to reach 32 degrees on Wednesday.

“The rain we have had lately does nothing, it might slow the threat down by a day or so,” he said.

Firefighters later attended an incident at Irrewillipe Road, Elliminyt, where a vehicle had caused a grass fire.

“We had a few people driving in the paddock and a vehicle had ignited long dry grass,” Lieutenant Scott Peschel said.

“If conditions had’ve been worse it would have had potential to spread more rapidly than it did, but given the fact there wasn’t a lot of wind, we contained it pretty quickly,” he said.

Lt Peschel said people should be careful about driving vehicles through long and dry grass, because exhaust under cars could start a fire.

Meanwhile, firefighters sent two units to release a bird which became stuck in a tree on Saturday.

Lt Peschel said the magpie had a string tied around its leg, which became attached to the tree on Speirs Street, Colac.

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