High winds fan fires

REGION - Country Fire Authority volunteers were kept busy at the weekend responding to several outbreaks of fire - the most serious near Tatyoon.

At its peak 28 trucks and four aircraft attended the blaze that broke out with temperatures in the mid 30s and wind gusts reaching 50km/h.

The fire scorched 350 hectares of land including crops, fences and a couple of shed structures.

District 16 Country Fire Authority operations manager, Chris Eagle said the fire which ignited just after 2.30pm, was brought under control by 7pm.

"It was very rapid, it burned very very fast for about three hours," he said.

"Luckily it came after the wind change and missed a couple of the little townships. It could quite easily have been a different story if the fire had started before the wind change."

Despite temperatures dropping into the low 20s on Sunday two fires caused concerns for authorities.

Twenty trucks and two aircraft responded to a 180 hectare blaze at Coonooer, near St Arnaud. The cause of that fire is unknown.

An hour later crews at Joel Joel attended a fire started by the use of farm machinery in a paddock. Both fires were brought under control by 5pm.

"Although on Sunday the risk was lower, farming activity was higher. People need to be vigilant with farm machinery, when it is hot and dry fires can ignite very easily."

Mr Eagle praised the work of the many volunteers.

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