Windy conditions fan Toolleen grass fire

TWO aircraft, 18 CFA units and 10 DSE units battled a fire which burnt over 80 hectares of grass in Toolleen, north of Heathcote, yesterday.

CFA district rostered duty officer Ron Shiner said the cause of the blaze on the Northern Highway, which also damaged a shed, is still under investigation.

The fire started behind a house at about 4pm and spread quickly through grass and into trees at the back of a property. 

No one is believed to have been home at the time of the fire.

Mr Shiner said the crews did well to control the blaze given the windy weather conditions.

“It spread very quickly given the dryness of the grass and fuel available,” he said.

“They did well to control it in half an hour.” Firefighters were still mopping up more than four hours after getting the fire under control.

Neighbour Bruce Hanblin said the fire was across the road from where a grass fire destroyed 200 hectares about a year ago.

He said he was shearing sheep when he noticed smoke coming from the adjoining property. “When I got here it was only 30 to 40 metres from the yard and it spread pretty quickly, so I went to move the neighbour’s cattle in,” he said.

Mr Hanblin said the conditions of the land meant fires took hold quickly.

“It’s a dry place and there’s strong winds so you really have to be careful,” he said.

Related coverage: Feature: Bushfire news

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