High fire danger on the Monaro

THE QUICK response of volunteer fire fighters averted what could have been a major fire near Dalgety at the weekend.

As hot weather and windy conditions take hold, the fire highlighted the current high fire rating across the Monaro.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) Inspector Mick Holton said a number of RFS brigades arrived at Dimboola, a property on the Snowy River Way, to fight the fire which started at 6pm on Sunday.

"We got a lot of resources there quickly," Inspector Holton said.

"Ten fire fighting units came from Berridale, Numbla Vale, Brothers and Jindabyne fire brigades along with group captain, Peter Bottom.

"The potential was there for the fire to spread to the north-west and a grader was ordered to put in a fire break, but was stood down as the fire was brought under control."

The fire is believed to have been started by a quad bike moving cattle in long grass on the property.

The cattle were moved to safety on the Snowy River and there were no stock losses. The RFS estimate that about 60 hectares (150 acres) of grassland was burnt.

The fire was brought under control at 10pm and will be monitored for a number of days by the Dalgety brigade before being declared out.

Inspector Holton said the incident served as a timely reminder of the danger when driving across paddocks this summer.

"Given the high fuel loads with the extent of the grass growth this season, farmers should be mindful that machinery can easily start a blaze when brought into contact with long fine dry grass, like African Lovegrass.

"Vehicle exhausts or tractors and slashers can strike a rock and all have the potential to start a fire.

"We have had fires in the past started by quad bikes and farm machinery."

RFS Inspector Langdon Gould said a number of other fires have been started recently by landholders introducing heat sources into long dry grass.

"On Friday a landowner started a grass fire when slashing a paddock on a hot windy day at Middle Flat on the Numeralla Road," Inspector Gould said.

"Only yesterday, (Tuesday) a landowner was welding near some long grass and started a fire at Michelago.

"The RFS is warning all the community that the prevalence of dry grass can readily support a fire and to ensure they do not introduce any heat source into areas of dry grass.

"This includes vehicles and machinery, slashing, grinding or welding, as they will start a fire."

There is a current high fire danger rating on the Monaro but this can change with the weather conditions such as temperature, humidity and wind.

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