Arson suspected in Cooma fire

AN ARSONIST may be at work in Cooma after a suspicious fire threatened several houses on Thursday.

The very dry, hot and windy conditions caused what appears to be a deliberately lit fire to spread very quickly uphill towards a number of houses, just on the edge of town.

With thick smoke drifting across the Monaro last week from the Victorian fires, causing unease, the last thing Cooma residents would expect is a fire to be deliberately lit right in town.

Fire and Rescue NSW Cooma Captain Chris Reeks said police were treating this fire very seriously. It is not known if the fire is linked to a spate of other suspicious fires near the North Ridge Reserve area recently.

"We are worried about these fires," Captain Reeks said.

"We don't know what this person is going to do."

He said Thursday's fire came right up to houses on Banksia Lane off Church Road, near the Cooma saleyards.

"Both our trucks went and about six RFS trucks," Mr Reeks said.

"There were two ignition points along the railway line."

Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokesperson Langdon Gould said the dry conditions and wind caused the fire to move very quickly.

"The blaze came close to several properties and the cause is subject to a police investigation," Mr Gould said.

The fire is known as the 'Eucalypt Hill' fire and started at about 4pm burning eight hectares of grass and bushland before it was brought under control at about 8pm.

Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact the Cooma police on 64 52 0099 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

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