Maiden Gully in close fire call


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MAIDEN Gully residents have praised the coordinated firefighting attack that helped to save properties in Schumakers Lane.

A firebombing helicopter joined 23 fire trucks to contain the fast-moving grassfire before it reached homes Sunday morning.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries were continuing to investigate the cause of the fire Sunday night as crews worked to black out the last of the embers.

Residents said the fire came frighteningly close to a number of properties.

Warren Lowe was keeping an eye on his sister's home that was surrounded by flames. He said his sister and her partner were not home at the time.

"The fire was right on top of the house," he said.

"I'm surprised it's still standing. The fire must have gone around it."

Neighbours John Robinson and Ian Smith said they had been on high alert in the lead-up to the day.

Mr Smith said the dry conditions were similar to Black Saturday, where a fire was sparked in nearby Bracewell Street.

"It's a bit too close for my liking," he said.

"Everyone's still a bit jumpy when you see flames, especially in these conditions." 

Vin Rousch has lived in Schumakers Lane for 32 years and said there was always a concern for fires in the area.

"This is a dead ringer for five years ago," he said.

"You always worry about the risk of fire, especially on days like this. This one could have been big but luckily they've hit it really hard really quick. I think the firefighters and the helicopter did an amazing job."

The Calder Highway between Olympic Parade and Marong was closed temporarily.

Maiden Gully CFA captain Dave Mustey said the wind and heat in the area had created an extremely potent fire risk.

"It's very, very dry," he said. 

"We had houses under threat but we know it could have been a lot worse."

Mr Mustey said crews would continue to monitor the area for any flare-ups.

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