Central Victorian fire crews under pressure as heat rises

FIRE crews throughout central Victoria were on standby yesterday as the temperature climbed to 40 degrees.

With a severe fire danger rating issued, only minor incidents were reported across the region, with a small grass fire in Echuca and a scrub fire at Timor-West, near Maryborough.

A small fire outside Echuca Regional Health just before 2pm was contained to a garden bed.

Police attended but said it was not suspicious. 

Leading Senior Constable Neil Hodson said the fire may have been sparked by a cigarette butt and police were on the look-out for deliberately lit fires.

“On days like that when it’s a total fire ban, we do have patrols specifically looking out for people near grasslands and other areas,” he said.

At Timor-West two fire trucks from Bowenvale attended and contained a fire within an hour, just before 1pm.

Marong Fire Brigade had its station doors open and fire truck ready to go. Meanwhile  a team of volunteers kept an ear to the ground for any signs of fire activity.

Captain Gary Parlby said the brigade was on strike-team duty yesterday, which meant they could be sent anywhere around the state.

“So that meant we had to make sure we had crews ready for that and we also had make sure we were ready for any local fires,” he said.     

Mr Parlby and his team were ready for action but they had their fingers crossed Bendigo would remain fire-free.

“The conditions are pretty crook and if it happens we need to be pretty quick,” Mr Parlby said.

“If we can get out there quickly to it and hit it hard then I believe we can get on top of it quickly,” he said.

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